Temporary changes to annual leave in modern awards

The Fair Work Commission has amended 99 modern awards as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic to introduce entitlements for employees to take:

  • Two weeks of unpaid pandemic leave; and
  • Twice as much annual leave at half their normal pay


Unpaid pandemic leave

This leave is available for full-time, part-time and casual employees. It is available automatically, it does not have to be accrued.

Employees can now take up to two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave (or more if their employer agrees). If they cannot work due to a requirement to self-isolate by a Government directive or as the result of advice from a medical practitioner. It can also be taken if they cannot work due to a Government directive restricting their place of work from opening (e.g. a restriction on hospitality venues from opening).

Any leave taken counts as continuous service for calculating entitlements under the Fair Work Act and modern awards.

Employers can require employees to provide evidence of the need to take the leave (e.g. medical evidence).


Annual leave at half pay

Full-time and part-time employees can now also take their annual leave at half pay for double the time off work (subject to the agreement of their employer).

Teachers employed under the Teachers Award 2010 (except teachers employed in early childhood services that operate for at least 48 weeks a year) can’t take annual leave at half pay.


Which awards have been amended?

This is a list of all the awards that have been amended:

  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award
  • Aged Care Award
  • Air Pilots Award
  • Aircraft Cabin Crew Award
  • Airline Operations-Ground Staff Award
  • Airport Employees Award
  • Alpine Resorts Award
  • Aluminium Industry Award
  • Ambulance and Patient Transport Industry Award
  • Amusement, Events and Recreation Award
  • Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award
  • Aquaculture Industry Award
  • Architects Award
  • Asphalt Industry Award
  • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award
  • Book Industry Award
  • Broadcasting, Recorded Entertainment and Cinemas Award
  • Business Equipment Award
  • Car Parking Award
  • Cement, Lime and Quarrying Award
  • Cemetery Industry Award
  • Children’s Services Award
  • Cleaning Services Award
  • Clerks – Private Sector Award
  • Commercial Sales Award
  • Concrete Products Award
  • Contract Call Centres Award
  • Corrections and Detention (Private Sector) Award
  • Cotton Ginning Award
  • Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry Award
  • Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award
  • Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award
  • Educational Services (Teachers) Award
  • Fast Food Industry Award
  • Fitness Industry Award
  • Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award
  • Funeral Industry Award
  • Gardening and Landscaping Services Award
  • General Retail Industry Award
  • Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award
  • Hair and Beauty Industry Award
  • Health Professionals and Support Services Award
  • Higher Education Industry-Academic Staff-Award
  • Higher Education Industry-General Staff-Award
  • Horse and Greyhound Training Award
  • Horticulture Award
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award
  • Journalists Published Media Award
  • Labour Market Assistance Industry Award
  • Legal Services Award
  • Live Performance Award
  • Local Government Industry Award
  • Mannequins and Models Award
  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award
  • Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award
  • Market and Social Research Award
  • Meat Industry Award
  • Medical Practitioners Award
  • Miscellaneous Award
  • Nursery Award
  • Nurses Award
  • Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award
  • Pastoral Award
  • Pest Control Industry Award
  • Pharmaceutical Industry Award
  • Pharmacy Industry Award
  • Poultry Processing Award
  • Premixed Concrete Award
  • Professional Diving Industry (Recreational) Award
  • Professional Employees Award
  • Racing Clubs Events Award
  • Racing Industry Ground Maintenance Award
  • Rail Industry Award
  • Real Estate Industry Award
  • Registered and Licensed Clubs Award
  • Restaurant Industry Award
  • Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award
  • Road Transport and Distribution Award
  • Salt Industry Award
  • Seafood Processing Award
  • Security Services Industry Award
  • Silviculture Award
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award
  • Sporting Organisations Award
  • State Government Agencies Award
  • Storage Services and Wholesale Award
  • Sugar Industry Award
  • Supported Employment Services Award
  • Surveying Award
  • Telecommunications Services Award
  • Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award
  • Timber Industry Award
  • Transport (Cash in Transit) Award
  • Travelling Shows Award
  • Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award
  • Waste Management Award
  • Water Industry Award
  • Wine Industry Award
  • Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award


Need more help?

EI Legal is a specialist firm of employment lawyers. We advise businesses of all shapes and sizes as well as employees and HR professionals. Please contact us if you require any assistance.

There is also a wealth of information on all matters relating to COVID-19 and the workplace on Employment Innovations coronavirus knowledge base.