Unpaid pandemic leave in awards

On 8 April 2020, the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) made determinations external-icon.png varying 99 awards, adding unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility.

The determinations inserted a temporary new Schedule X into these 99 awards, which provide 2 weeks of unpaid pandemic leave and the ability to take twice as much annual leave at half their normal pay if their employer agreed.

The Commission has extended the entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave under Schedule X, with the provisions now ending in most awards from 30 June 2022. The entitlement to take annual leave at half pay hasn’t been extended and will end on 31 December 2021.

Unpaid pandemic leave

Employees who are employed under one of the affected awards can access up to 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave (or more by agreement with their employer) if they’re prevented from working:

  • as a result of being required to self-isolate by government or medical authorities, or acting on the advice of a medical practitioner, or
  • by measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the pandemic (for example, an enforceable government direction restricting non-essential businesses).

The leave is available in full immediately to full-time, part-time and casual employees – they don’t have to accrue it.

Employees don’t have to use all their paid leave before accessing unpaid pandemic leave.

The leave needs to start before, but can finish after, the date when the unpaid pandemic leave provisions in the relevant award stop applying. Check your award in the table below to see when Schedule X stops operating.

All eligible employees can take the 2 weeks’ leave. It is not pro-rated for employees who don’t work full-time.

Unpaid pandemic leave doesn’t affect other paid or unpaid leave entitlements and counts as service for entitlements under awards and the National Employment Standards.

Notice and evidence

An employee has to let their employer know that they’re going to take unpaid pandemic leave and the reason for taking the leave. This has to be done as soon as possible and can be after the leave has started. They should also say how long they’ll be off or expect to be off work.

An employer can ask an employee to give evidence that shows why they took the leave.

Awards with unpaid pandemic leave – new end dates

The table below outline the awards that still have Schedule X as well as its new end date in each award.

30 June 2022

AwardSchedule X end date
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award30 June 2022
Aged Care Award30 June 2022
Airline Operations – Ground Staff Award30 June 2022
Airport Award30 June 2022
Alpine Resorts Award30 June 2022
Aluminium Industry Award30 June 2022
Ambulance and Patient Transport Industry Award30 June 2022
Amusement, Events and Recreation Award30 June 2022
Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award30 June 2022
Aquaculture Industry Award30 June 2022
Architects Award30 June 2022
Asphalt Industry Award30 June 2022
Banking, Finance and Insurance Award30 June 2022
Broadcasting Award30 June 2022
Building and Construction Award30 June 2022
Business Equipment Award30 June 2022
Car Parking Award30 June 2022
Cement, Lime and Quarrying Award30 June 2022
Cemetery Industry Award30 June 2022
Children’s Services Award30 June 2022
Cleaning Services Award30 June 2022
Contract Call Centres Award30 June 2022
Corrections and Detention (Private Sector) Award30 June 2022
Cotton Ginning Award30 June 2022
Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry Award30 June 2022
Fast Food Industry Award30 June 2022
Fitness Industry Award30 June 2022
Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award30 June 2022
Funeral Industry Award30 June 2022
Gardening and Landscaping Services Award30 June 2022
Graphic Arts Award30 June 2022
Hair and Beauty Industry Award30 June 2022
Health Professionals and Support Services Award30 June 2022
Horse and Greyhound Training Award30 June 2022
Horticulture Award30 June 2022
Hospitality Industry (General) Award30 June 2022
Joinery Award30 June 2022
Labour Market Assistance Award30 June 2022
Legal Services Award30 June 2022
Live Performance Award30 June 2022
Local Government Industry Award30 June 2022
Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award30 June 2022
Meat Industry Award30 June 2022
Medical Practitioners Award30 June 2022
Mobile Crane Award30 June 2022
Nursery Award30 June 2022
Nurses Award30 June 2022
Pastoral Award30 June 2022
Pest Control Industry Award30 June 2022
Pharmaceutical Industry Award30 June 2022
Pharmacy Industry Award30 June 2022
Plumbing Award30 June 2022
Poultry Processing Award30 June 2022
Premixed Concrete Award30 June 2022
Professional Award30 June 2022
Professional Diving Industry (Recreational) Award30 June 2022
Racing Clubs Events Award30 June 2022
Racing Industry Ground Maintenance Award30 June 2022
Real Estate Industry Award30 June 2022
Registered and Licensed Clubs Award30 June 2022
Restaurant Industry Award30 June 2022
General Retail Industry Award30 June 2022
Salt Industry Award30 June 2022
Seafood Processing Award30 June 2022
Security Services Industry Award30 June 2022
Silviculture Award30 June 2022
Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award30 June 2022
State Government Agencies Award30 June 2022
Storage Services and Wholesale Award30 June 2022
Sugar Industry Award30 June 2022
Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award30 June 2022
Timber Industry Award30 June 2022
Waste Management Award30 June 2022
Water Industry Award30 June 2022
Wine Industry Award30 June 2022
Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award30 June 2022

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