25 February Coping with community service leave February 25, 2020 By Reef Admin Leave provisions 0 The bushfire crisis across the nation this Summer has been devastating. Through all the sadness, the generosity of thousands of volunteers has been awe-inspiring. At the same time, employers have been left asking: "How do I deal with leave entitlements for volunteer fire-fighters?" Under the Fair Work Act, employees are entitled to be absent from work to engage in an “eligible community service activity.” This includes dealing with an emergency management activity or natural disaster as a member of a recognised emergency service management body, such as the Rural Fire Service. Payment for leave Under the Fair Work Act, there’s no obligation on the employer to pay for the period of emergency service leave. However, the employee’s period of service continues unbroken during the period of leave (so that other entitlements, such as annual leave and personal/ carer’s leave, continue to accrue). Notice and evidence requirements The employee must give the employer verbal or written notice of their absence as soon as practicable. This notice must include the length (or estimated length) of the absence from work. The Fair Work Act doesn’t specify what evidence should be provided, but it might be expected that some form of documentation from the emergency service organisation (advising the employee that their attendance is required) should be included with the notice. If satisfactory evidence is not provided, the employer is under no obligation to grant community service leave to cover the period of absence from work Importantly, an employee must not be terminated if the reason for their absence from work is for the purpose of engaging in a voluntary emergency management activity. Have questions? If you have employees who are currently engaging in volunteer fire-fighting activities and are unsure about how to deal with leave entitlements, call REEF on 1300 616 170. Related Changes to annual leave provisions now in play In an important decision by the Fair Work Commission, annual leave provisions in modern awards have been varied to provide greater administrative flexibility. The changes apply from the first pay period on or after 29 July 2016. Real Estate Industry Award: Out with the old, in with the new After a long battle, the Fair Work Commission has now finalised the four-year award review and the new Real Estate Industry Award will commence on 2 April 2018. Here's what you need to know before the changes kick in. Can an employee cash out their long service leave? It's a common question. REEF often receives calls asking about an employee's ability to cash out an amount of accrued long service leave. But can they? Senior Workplace Relations Advisor Laura Clark explains. Changes to Victorian long service leave Victorian real estate employers should be aware of the new Long Service Leave Act 2018 (Vic). The Act was passed in May and (unless proclaimed to start earlier) will commence operation on 1 November 2018. Coronavirus - Employment Q&As (part 1) The REEF Helpline has been inundated with calls regarding the Coronavirus and its impact on employment. To address some of your questions, please take the time to read the following essential information. A pressing necessity: Payment of pro rata long service leave In some States and Territories, long service leave legislation provides for a pro rata long service leave payment in certain circumstances upon termination of the employee’s employment. Comments are closed.