How Many Sick Days a Year in Australia?

how many sick days in Australia

If you feel a little under the weather, do you know how many sick days in Australia you are entitled to? Let’s explore the topic how many sick days a year in Australia and look at the different types of sick and carer’s leave available.

Stay with us to help you understand sick leave in Australia practices!


Anyone may become sick at any time. As a result, employers must provide paid sick leave so that employees who are too ill to work get paid vacation. Under the Workplace Relations Act, sick leave is a legal award issue. Your rights are generally stated in awards or contracts, such as Certified Agreements.

Several states have passed laws establishing minimum sick leave requirements. For example, in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland, the minimal benefit is one week; in South Australia, it’s ten days or 80 hours, and in Western Australia, it’s ten days or 80 hours.

How Many Sick Days a Year in Australia?

Sick leave is a type of paid time off, introduced in trade union campaigns for its inclusion in industrial pacts. It was included in “industrial awards” in Australia in 1922.

Carer’s leave is any time off work because you need to care for an immediate family member. Australian workers are entitled to two days of compassionate leave for each occasion a family member or housemate contracts a disease, develop a personal illness, or suffers a personal injury that endangers their lives or dies.

Eligible employees are entitled to 10 days of paid personal leave (sick or carer’s leave) per year under the Federal Government’s industrial relations legislation, known as Fair Work. If not used in one year, it carries over to the following years. The latest statistics on women in the workplace reveal that 88% of all primary carer’s leaves are taken by women, while men account for 12%.

Although the legislation states that employees are entitled to sick leave from their first day of work, many employers have a policy of waiting until the employee has been with the company for a certain period – usually between three and six months.

Who is Eligible for Sick Leave?

Whether full-time, part-time, shift workers, juniors, or apprentices, permanent staff are all eligible for sick leave. Under most arrangements and awards, pieceworkers qualify. Workers who work on a project rather than regularly qualify under most agreements and awards. Paid sick leave is generally not provided to casuals under contracts and agreements.

Sick Leave Accrual Formula

You are entitled to 40 hours of paid sick leave in your first year of employment and 64 hours each subsequent year. Workers must complete a qualifying period ranging from 1 to 6 months before being compensated for any sick leave under some awards.

In the construction sector, a higher sick-leave threshold exists. The right is 80 hours for workers with more than a year of service in the National Building Trades Construction Award and other building industry competitions. 

Furthermore, several white-collar employees are now entitled to receive 15 – 30 days of paid time off. There are a few different sick leave accrual calculators that use different parameters.

Sick or Carer’s Leave Abuse

Employees’ misuse of sick or carer’s leave is a real problem for Australian businesses. Some employees take advantage of the system by falsely claiming to be ill, while others take extended rest periods without any genuine reason.

In some cases, employees may even use sick leave to take care of family members who are not ill.

Unfortunately, there is very little that employers can do to prevent employees from abusing their sick or carer leave. The best option is to keep track of the amount of rest that each employee takes and take disciplinary action if it is suspected that the leave is being abused.

Coronavirus Sick Leave

Employers and employees are required to safeguard employee health and safety under the law. Employees who have COVID-19 are unable to work because of their legal responsibilities. If a full-time or part-time worker cannot work due to COVID-19, they are entitled to paid sick leave.

If they don’t have any paid sick leave left, they should seek permission from their employer to take other forms of pay or unpaid time off. An employee cannot be compelled to use accrued sick or carer’s leave.

Longer-Term Sick Leave in Australia

If you can’t work for long periods due to illness or injury, there are protections from being dismissed. 

To avoid being dismissed, employees must provide evidence of their illness or injury if they’re:

  • Away for less than three consecutive months or less than three months over the last 12 months
  • Still on their paid sick leave.

In case the absence is longer than this period and all of the paid sick leave has been used, employees are no longer protected from dismissal. However, additional protections may apply under state and territory worker’s compensation and rehabilitation laws.

Sick Leave and Carer’s Leave in Other Countries

The number of sick leave employees are entitled to in other countries varies greatly. For example, in the United States, employees are generally not entitled to any paid sick leave unless they work for a company that offers it as a benefit. 

In the United Kingdom, employees are entitled to 28 days of paid sick leave per year. In Canada, employees are generally entitled to between five and nine days of paid sick leave, depending on the province they live in.

Employees in Australia are generally entitled to much more paid sick leave than employees in other countries. This is likely because Australia has a solid social safety net, which includes several benefits for employees who cannot work.

Bottom Line

There you have it, we’ve gathered all of the important info onhow many sick days a year in Australia you can get. We hope this article helped you figure out sick leave in Australia!


1. Can I get fired for taking sick leave?

Employees cannot be fired for taking sick leave if they are entitled to it under their contract or industrial agreement. However, employers can take disciplinary action against employees who abuse their sick leave.

2. What happens if I run out of sick days?

If an employee runs out of sick days, they may be able to take unpaid leave. Alternatively, the employee may be able to take paid leave from another source, such as vacation days or personal days. If the employee cannot work due to COVID-19, they are entitled to paid sick leave. However, It is a good thing to know how many sick days a year in Australia you’re entitled to.

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