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Annual leave

Last updated August 2023

This chapter explains annual leave entitlements under the National Employment Standards, enterprise agreements and modern awards.

Annual leave entitlements

All full-time and part-time employees are entitled to annual leave.

Definition: Annual Leave

Annual leave is paid time off work, usually for recreational purposes.

An employee’s annual leave entitlements are governed by:

  • the National Employment Standards (NES) in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth);
  • enterprise agreements;
  • modern awards; and
  • employment contracts.
Important: If more than one instrument stipulating annual leave entitlements applies to your employees, you must comply with the instrument that has the most generous provisions.
Caution: Never undercut the NES, even if an applicable modern award, enterprise agreement or employment contract does so. Doing so is a contravention of the FW Act, which exposes you to a penalty of up to $93,900 for a body corporate or $18,780 for an individual.
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