Recreation leave reduction not open license for managers - Public Service Association

Recreation leave reduction not open license for managers

A recent circular issued by the Treasury directs public sector agencies (including related entities and State Owned Corporations) to make all “reasonable attempts” to reduce the recreation leave balances of employees to 30 days or fewer by 30 June 2015.

This is not, however, an open invitation for managers to direct staff to take leave whenever they see fit.

Awards and agreements negotiated by the PSA set out the circumstances in which employees can be directed to take leave.

For members covered by the Crown Employees (Public Sector Conditions of Employment) Reviewed Award 2009, such a direction can only be given when the balance exceeds 30 days.

In this case, the leave should be taken within three months of the employee receiving written notification, or within six weeks if the balance exceeds 40 days.

The Award states that, whenever possible, the staff member’s wishes should be accommodated as to when leave is taken.

The PSA can assist members in making sure this intention is respected when measures are put into practice by agencies and employers.

In a climate of ongoing job cuts, a major reason for high leave accrual across the sector is of course that large workloads prevent staff from taking time off.

The general sense of insecurity that hovers over the public sector can also make absences more stressful than restful.

If you feel that you are being treated unfairly because of your agency’s approach to reducing leave balances or approving leave, or if you have any questions regarding your entitlements, please speak with your union delegate or contact the PSA Member Support Centre (1300 772 679).

It’s worth noting that the Crown Employees Award and other awards and agreements negotiated by the PSA allow members to purchase additional annual leave by reducing their salary by a proportionate amount.

These arrangements may assist members looking to plan for longer periods of leave.

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