Rules for Carer(personal leave)

Long Story short,

I have approx. 70 days of sick / personal / carer's leave accrued in my 10 years of employment.

I live in country Victoria , my son will undergo surgery in Melbourne next week. Hospital sent us letter asking we must stay in Melbourne & close proximity to RCH for 2 weeks after surgery for any complication.

Sent RCH letter along with leave application (carer's leave) to Manager for his approval.

Manager come back & offered max 3 days of leave & rest annual leave, reason max 3 days allow as industry standard

When I confront with proof that there is no such thing in fair work, I should able to use as many as I wish from accursed leave as necessary.

After that Manager come back to me & said according HR,

They assume my wife will get carer leave from her work , I can get only 3 days max carer leave. I told him that his information is false , my wife will be there for few days & I will be take care of my son for 2 weeks required by RCH.

My manger says he will discuss with HR & will get back to me in couple of days.

Question is :
* Regardless, if my wife using her sick leave (different employer than my), Can my employer restricts me for max 3 days?
* Can HR / or Business makes this type of rules on the Run
* What are my rights? If my employer grants me only 3 days for carer's leave.

Thanks in advance.

Update : The leave approved as required. They must have come to their senses.

Thanks all for your help and guidance.


  • +16

    Absolutely you can use carers leave. It forms part of your personal leave and if you have 70 days accrued, you could use it all on carers if you wanted.

    • +7

      Reading that sounds like the HR mob are incompetent. I would provide this link to the boss. They, absolutely, should not assume your wife will get carers leave. Best of luck with your son’s surgery, I hope he makes a speedy recovery.

      • +7

        HR are there for the benefit of the company, not the staff member

        • +5

          They may be for the benefit of the company but they must adhere to their legal be giving out wrong information like this could, well, get them into trouble.

        • +6

          Not getting in trouble with the law benefits the company, too.

          (Plenty of companies not smart enough to see this though. Burning thousands to try to rip off their own people for a few dollars)

  • +10

    You take the time off , you get the hospital to give you a medical certificate, claim as you need ;)

  • +3

    I would ask HR for copies of their policies relating to carers leave and read it to see what options you have.

    Different companies have different policies regarding carers leave and over the years it can change. Most decent and modern companies will allow you to use at least 50% of your sick leave to look after your partner and kids, so long as you have something from a doctor to say that they need to be cared for over the period you are requesting.

    If there is no carers policy or it is crap then get the hospital / doctor to write a letter that you need to look after your son for two weeks near the hospital. Make it as simple as possible so that the company cannot find an out with the letter, then use it for two weeks of carers leave.

    Good luck.

    • I have gone through my employment contract as well, nothing there. I will wait to here their response.

      • +8

        Dont wait.

        Go back to your manager, show him the fairwork act and ask him where it states 3 days in your contract.

        Working 10 years and still having 70 days seems like you are a great employee and dont take leave for the sake of being entitled to it. So kudos to you.

  • +1

    not under Fair Work ACT and have a baseline in the national employment standard.

    Sounds like the manager would form some sort of judgment and bias for future activities/employment though shouldn't stop you or your wife from taking time off work.
    Best to talk it through with them on family and health first before throwing the book/legislation

    How much paid sick and carer's leave can an employee take?
    An employee can take as much paid sick or carer's leave as they have accumulated. There is no minimum or maximum amount of paid sick or carer's leave that can be taken at a time.

  • +2

    What industry are you in that you're only allowed 3 days off as standard? Good luck to your son!

    • I got mid manager role in Agriculture industry. Tbh , they are BS about 3 days law. Nothing in industry specific rules.

  • +5

    After that Manager come back to me & said according HR,
    They assume my wife will get carer leave from her work

    I'd be asking why they would assume your wife will be taking carer's leave and not you.
    I don't condone this, but pulling out the "sexist" card will probably get you everything you want! LOL!

    • +3

      I do condone it. HR are being dicks.

      • +1

        HR should get what they deserve.

        When I said I don't condone it, I had in my mind the people who were on the receiving end of actual sex discrimination. If everyone pulled out the sexist card at the drop of a hat, eventually no-one will believe the genuine claims.

        • +3

          This is actual sex discrimination. They expect OP not to use his entitlement because “his wife” will be using hers. This is wrong on so many, many levels. As a woman who worked in IT since the 80s I’m pretty sure I have a good idea what sexual discrimination looks like. The idea that people just “pull out the card” is to deny what really happens out there.

          • @try2bhelpful: 100% agree. This is discrimination based on OP being a man. The employer should be confronted about this.

          • @try2bhelpful: Out of curiosity, did you work in any public orgs in the 80s? We they led sexist than private orgs?

            • @kiitos: I worked in public and private. The private was much more sexist. Some of the guys had naked pictures of women on their desks. My issue was more they couldn’t possibly be concentrating in their work with the pictures there. I was asked, in my first interview, whether I planned to have children and, when I said no, the interviewer said “good I don’t like women abandoning their children in the home”. I heard managers complaining about women who wanted to be recognised on housing loan documents. When I objected with one provider as to why I was being addressed as “Mr” in my correspondence they said “there weren’t many women so we didn’t bother fixing the database”. This is just a bit of a sample.

              • @try2bhelpful: Yikes!

                Good that public wasn't as sexist, though.

                • @kiitos: Most of it was just water off a ducks back. The manager from the first interview, and I, became great mates. He was just a tad “old fashioned”.
                  One of the managers in the public sector had a wicked sense of humour. He said “he got the staff that John West rejected”. He didn’t mean it but, because he had a great team, it, really, made me laugh.

    • +4

      That's what baffling me, he says I told him which I didn't, I told him that he assumed. Also regardless even if she uses her leave to care for child along with me , nothing wrong as raising & caring for child is both parent's right / responsibility.

      • +8

        Why would your wife have to take carers leave? Shouldn't be at home anyway cleaning the house and cooking your meals already? /s

      • +1

        After 10 years, they still treat you like this….

        Just a bit of a warning though - getting into a huge fight with your manager and HR and then embarassing them by proving them both wrong can be a very career-limiting move!

        • +7

          It doesn’t have to be a “huge fight”. All OP is doing is pointing out his entitlements. If this is “career limiting” then he is with the wrong company. I think the company doesn’t want to get into that fight, they can’t win and it, really, shows them in a really poor light.

          • +6


            … then he is with the wrong company.

            I already think he is with the wrong company. After 10 years of service, they're trying to stop him from using his entitlements to care for his child. Instead, they're pretty much telling OP to get his wife to use Carer's Leave from her company instead.

            Time to use all the accrued entitlements and get out of there!

  • +3

    How is it relevant that your wife takes carers leave at the same time when she's not employed at the same place?

    If they refuse carers leave, take stress leave from their refusal to pay your carers leave :D

    • That's what I didn't understood, my wife has nothing to do with my work. She's got her own job & her job is not asking, if I am going to take carer leave as well or not.

      To me they are trying to use my Annual Leave first compare to my personal leave.

      • Yeah I'd definitely fight that one.

      • +2

        To me they are trying to use my Annual Leave first compare to my personal leave.

        This. They are being sneaky. There is too much AL on the books atm because of covid and it’s a risk to the business. If you take your rightful 2 weeks out of personal leave, they still owe you AL at a later date.

        It sounds like you won’t, but do not let them do this to you.

  • +1

    IMO, your organisation is wrong here, you can take your carer's leave of upto 3 days without any evidence, if its more than 3 days you need to furnish evidence such as a Medical certificate. OP, do you have significant balance of Personal/Annual Leave? Another logical reason why i think your organisation is forcing you to take Annual leave, could be the fact that you have accrued significant amount of Annual Leave and your company wants your personal leaves be utilized. What you can do in this situation is to go through your company policy, if your company policy says you cant take more than 3 days of Carer leave then i believe its illegal. You should report it.

  • In all cases like this I just say "please show me the relevant section(s) of the document you got this information from". Generally speaking HR or Management have pulled their ruling out of their back passage or interpreted it to suit themselves.

    I'm in NSW State government and providing you can justify the time off the allowance is almost unlimited.

    One of my colleagues has just had 6 months off because his wife was dying and straight after that he had to look after his mother who had dementia and other medical issues.

    I've had 2 weeks off with my kids being sick. Nobody questions it.

    With the attitude your employer has, it doesn't encourage loyalty.

  • +2

    Call fair work or union, brings the mofos down.

    You have a legitimate reason, and have accrued such a vast amount of it because you haven't been abusing your entitlement in the first place. Yet when you genuinely need it, they're being total #sshol*s about it. It's the last thing you should be stressing about in this this circumstance.

  • I'm aware of an organisation that had a policy of unlimited "approved" personal/carer's leave. Sounds good right? The approval was at the manager's discretion.

    An employee applied for a weeks carer's leave as his child was undergoing major surgery. Carer's leave was rejected on the the grounds that the child would be in hospital so the child would be cared for by the doctors and nurses!

  • +1

    Also form my understanding in Vic (maybe all Aus?), as long as you supply them with sufficient documentation (which you have through your forms from RCH), they have no right to ask you any information about the leave.

    They do not need to know what is wrong with your son. They do not need to know how serious it is. They do not need any information for them to (falsely) assume your wife will look after him and not you.

    The doctors at RCH have told you to be there for your son. They have given you proof which you can pass on when telling your employer you will not be able to work for x number of days as advised by the doctors. That is all your employer is able to access about this. (Or any personal leave, whether it be sick, carers, mental health, bereavement, etc).

  • Under the fair work act you can take your carers leave and the employer cannot do anything. Their HR dept are supposed to provide sound advice to ensure they meet their legal obligations! It sounds like they are incompetent or the manager is going rouge.

    A very important note to point out though is if you take carers leave and they discriminate you because of it (potentially pushing you our or making life difficult) you could bring a case against them for adverse action. This is what their HR dept should actually be advising the manager in question!

  • +1

    I agree your manager is being sexist. Do you think the 3-day rule is for undocumented sick leave? Most of the companies I've worked for require med certs after 2 days sick leave. Get a med cert stating you require 2 weeks sick leave and your manager/HR won't have a leg to stand on.

  • +1

    Hi, it's really stressful to have to educate your employer when you're probably already on elevated stress knowing that your son is going in for surgery next week.

    Contact Fair Work immediately, and ask them for their advice. IANAL but from the facts, your employer is falsely claiming a limitation on leave approved. Perhaps a medical certificate from your son's GP, reflecting the same information as the hospital letter, has stronger weight for your request than a letter on hospital letterhead. Or one from your GP, indicating the same information, ie there is a requirement for you to provide support to your son post-operatively.

    To manage your stress levels for now, maybe tell your employer (verbally and by email) that you won't be at work from x to y, that you have higher stress than usual and that you would prefer to sort out the paperwork when you return. You can claim duress if they force you to agree to their dodgy leave.

    I hope multiple someones get an education here, and that you can focus on being present for supporting your son during his recovery.

    • I have submitted all docs from RCH which clearly states that we need to stay 2 weeks within close proximity to RCH for any complication. I have also submitted letter from Resident Dr stating same, as well with local GP Certificate stating I need to be in Melbourne for 2 weeks due to surgery & post surgery care.

      Let's just wait, Manager told me he will get back me by Monday, hope he come back with positive reply.

      • Best of luck on everything. I can’t see them not giving it to you. Just astonishing they are stuffing you around. What you really don’t need at this stage.

  • You can use carers leave for all of the time you need to spend with your son in hospital. It's pretty clear your employer is trying to get out of their legal obligations. The fact that they made up an assumption about your wife as part of their response, rather than dealing only with the facts from you, shows their intent (or gross incompetence).

    Sorry you work for such an employer who treats their employees like this, especially after 10 years of service! These type of employers need to be dealt with harshly. It is unacceptable in Australia.

  • -1

    Don't consult us here…. contact your Union for a proper outline of your rights

    • +1

      I thought this is a forum where we can discuss things to make sure at least in my case understanding of my right is correct and before I take it to further. If I am at wrong or have limited knowledge on subject, I don't wish to include 3rd party to make matter worse.

      After reading all other replies, it looks like I am in right to take carer's leave & if need be I will take it further. I am just waiting to hear from my Manager.

      Ps : Not much of union in Agriculture industry. In my 10+ years of work in this industry, I haven't seen any official from any union come over here or contact any staff nor anyone had thought of creating one.

      • +1

        Don’t worry about some people here it is worth asking some other people’s opinions and experience. If you can sort it out without too much of a fuss it is best for everyone. Hopefully your work will see this as an “oops” moment on their part.

  • You’re entitled to as much carer's (or sick) leave as you have accumulated, that’s the only limiting factor. 3 days maximum is what you usually get for bereavement leave. Try contacting HR directly. Your manager seems to be making up the rules. Also whatever leave your wife takes has nothing to do with your leave.

  • +1

    You just need a letting from the doctor saying you were required to care for your son for x amount of days. What your wife does with her leave is none of their business IMHO.

  • +1

    Update : Finally all sorted & leave approved as required.

    They must have realized their stuff up, approved it without any further arguments. It was unfortunate incident & hope it should not happen with anyone.

    Thanks all for your support & guidance.

    • +1

      Thanks for the update. Excellent outcome. Best of luck with the recovery of your son.

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