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Unpaid leave

Previously part of ‘Other types of leave’ chapter – last updated December 2023

This chapter explains unpaid leave and when you might allow a worker to take unpaid leave.

Who is entitled to unpaid leave?

In general, it will be up to you to decide whether you wish to allow an employee to take unpaid leave.

There is no statutory obligation under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) to grant an employee unpaid leave, except for the following types of leave:

  • parental leave;
  • adoption-related leave;
  • community service leave; and
  • carer’s leave (where paid leave entitlements have been exhausted).
Remember: You must also ensure that you comply with any obligation in the employee’s contract to provide unpaid leave.
CautionWhen considering a request for unpaid leave, avoid basing your decision on any grounds that may constitute unlawful discrimination. Make sure that the decision you make is consistent with other decisions you have made regarding unpaid leave.