|Issued||2 October 1997|
|Contact||David Jimenez (02) 9391 9335|
PERSONAL/CARER'S LEAVE, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES
This circular is applicable to the Area/Rural Health Services, Public
Hospitals, Ambulance Service, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children (New
Children's Hospital) and Corrections Health. It replaces the Department's
previous circular on Family and Community Services Leave, circular 95/36,
issued on 24 May 1995. It also replaces previous circulars dealing with
Compassionate Leave (88/228 & 89/99).
On 11 February 1997 the Public Sector Management Office (PSMO) of the
Premier's Department issued a new Determination, developed in consultation
with Labor Council and public sector unions, dealing comprehensively with
Family & Community Services (FACS) Leave, Personal/Carer's Leave and
the flexible use of other leave entitlements for public servants.
NSW Health has consulted the PSMO and Labor Council and had regard to
the above Determination in developing the following arrangements, which
include appropriate modifications to reflect the more generous FACS provisions
currently applying in the health system. In line with the PSMO Determination,
the FACS and Personal/Carer's Leave entitlements and associated arrangements
set out in the attachment to this circular, are to take effect from 30
August 1996, the date of the Industrial Relations Commission judgment in
the State Personal/Carer's Leave Test Case.
FACS Leave and Personal/Carer's Leave are separate and stand alone entitlements.
FACS Leave and Personal/Carer's Leave are available to all employees other
FACS Leave is available:
* for a range of personal reasons encompassing family responsibilities; or
* for the performance of community service; or
* for cases of pressing necessity.
Personal/Carer's Leave is available:
* to provide care and/or support for sick members of the employee's family or household;
* to provide for the flexible use of other entitlements.
With Personal/Carer's Leave employees are able to access current and
up to 3 years accrued sick leave entitlements to care for a sick dependant.
There are also facilitative provisions in the new arrangements which
are available to assist employees to reconcile work and family responsibilities
by providing access to annual leave, time off in lieu of payment of overtime
and "make up" time. Access to both paid sick leave and time off in lieu
of payment of overtime are specifically for the purpose of caring for a
Additional FACS Leave for Bereavement Purposes - where
FACS Leave has been exhausted, additional paid leave of up to 2 days may
be granted on a discrete 'per occasion' basis to an employee on the death
of a family member as defined in clause 1.
Flexible Work Practice Alternatives to Using FACS or Personal/Carer's
As an alternative to, or to be used in conjunction with FACS or Personal/Carer's
Leave, are work practices that permit employees to vary their work arrangements
to attend to short term family responsibilities or community services.
Health service organisations are to implement, where practicable, policy
and procedures as defined in clause 4 "Use of make-up time", whereby employees
have available to them the opportunity to:
(i) be absent from the workplace for short periods of time (e.g. 2 hours)
and be able to make up the time either earlier or later on the same day,
or during the following week or month;
(ii) exchange shifts or part-shifts with co-workers.
All industrial instruments will be varied in due course to include reference to the above FACS and Personal/Carer's Leave arrangements and, where applicable, to remove inconsistent, redundant or inferior award provisions dealing with leave previously used for such purposes.
Any costs resulting from these new arrangements will need to be met
from within existing resources.
PSMO Review of Personal/Carer's Leave in the Public Sector
In view of the Industrial Relation Commission's intention to review
the operation of the August 1996 State Personal/Carer's Leave standard
clause and general orders, the PSMO is to undertake a comprehensive review
of the implementation of FACS and personal/carer's leave in the public
sector. The PSMO review is to particularly focus on the extent to which
sick leave is accessed by public sector employees for the purpose of caring
for a sick person.
Area Health Services/Hospitals and Ambulance Service should ensure they
have appropriate systems in place to enable the implementation and ongoing
operation of personal carer's leave and the continued operation of FACS
Leave to be monitored. These systems will not only facilitate EEO reporting
requirements but should also enable the demand for both forms of leave,
and the cost of meeting that demand for the NSW Health system, to be properly
assessed. Such information will be vital in any review of the operation
of these leave provisions.
Any enquiries concerning this circular should be directed by hospitals/health
units to the Health Service in the first instance. Only Health Service
human resource personnel should contact the Department directly concerning
NSW Health System
Family & Community Service Leave, Personal/Carer's Leave and flexible use of other leave entitlements
1. Family and Community Service Leave
1.1. Family and Community Service Leave - general
2. ‘affinity means a relationship that one spouse because of marriage has to blood relatives of the other; and
3. ‘Household' means a family group living in the same domestic dwelling.
(b) for reasons related to the family responsibilities of the employee (e.g. to arrange and or attend a funeral of a relative; to accompany a relative to a medical appointment where there is no element of emergency; parent/teacher meetings; education week activities; to meet elder-care requirements of a relative); or
(c) for reasons related to the performance of community service by the employee (e.g. in matters relating to citizenship; to office holders in local government, other than as mayor, for attendance at meetings, conferences or other associated duties; representing Australia or the State in major amateur sport other than in Olympic/Commonwealth Games); or
(d) in a case of pressing necessity (e.g. where an employee is unable to attend work because of adverse weather conditions which either prevent attendance or threaten life or property; the illness of a relative; where a child carer is unable to look after their charge).
(iv) An employee is not to be granted family and community service leave for attendance at court to answer a criminal charge, unless the appropriate CEO approves the grant of leave in the particular case.
1.2. Family and Community Service Leave - entitlement
(b) 1 working day, on a cumulative basis effective from 1 January 1995, for each year of service after 2 years' continuous service, minus any period of family and community service leave already taken by the employee since 1 January 1995,
Example A: An employee working 40 or 38 hours per week will have an entitlement, in their first year of employment, to 24 hours of FACS leave. If the employee takes FACS leave for a full 10 hour shift, the employee would be debited 10 hours of FACS leave.
Example B: An employee working 35 hours per week will have an entitlement, in their first year of employment, to 21 hours of FACS leave. If the employee takes FACS leave for a full 7 hour shift, the employee would be debited 7 hours of FACS leave.
Example C: An employee, employed prior to 1 January 1995,
applies for FACS leave on 20 February 1997. The employee is entitled to
6 days in any period of two years. Therefore, to calculate the employee's
available FACS leave as at 20 February 1997, add all FACS leave taken from
21 February 1995 to 20 February 1997 and deduct that amount from the 6
The appropriate CEO or authorised delegate, may grant an employee
other leave entitlements for reasons related to family responsibilities,
or community service by, the employee. An employee may elect, with
the consent of the employer, to take:
(b) long service leave;
(c) leave without pay.
2. Personal/Carer's Leave
2.1. Use of sick leave to care for the person concerned - definitions
A person who needs the employee's care and support is referred to as
the "person concerned" and is:
(b) a de facto spouse, who, in relation to a person, is a person of the opposite sex to the first mentioned person who lives with the first mentioned person as the husband or wife of that person on a bona fide domestic basis although not legally married to that person; or
(c) a child or an adult child (including an adopted child, a step child, a foster child or an ex nuptial child), parent (including a foster parent and legal guardian), grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee or spouse or de facto spouse of the employee; or
(d) a same sex partner who lives with the employee as the de facto partner of that employee on a bona fide domestic basis; or
(e) a relative of the employee who is a member of the same household, where for the purposes of this paragraph:
2. 'affinity' means a relationship that one spouse because of marriage has to blood relatives of the other; and
3. 'household' means a family group living in the same domestic dwelling.
2.2. Use of sick leave to care for the person concerned - entitlement
(ii) the person concerned being as defined in Clause 2.1.
(c) Sick leave accumulates from year to year. In addition to the current year's grant of sick leave available under (b) above, sick leave untaken from the previous 3 years may also be accessed by an employee with responsibilities in relation to a person who needs their care and support.
(d) The CEO or authorised delegate may, in special circumstances, make a grant of additional sick leave. This grant can only be taken from sick leave untaken prior to the period referred in Clause (c) above.
(e) The employee shall, if required, establish either by production of a medical certificate or statutory declaration, that the illness of the person concerned is such as to require care by another person.
(f) The employee has the right to choose the method by which the ground for leave is established, that is, by production of either a medical certificate or statutory declaration.
(g) The employee is not required to state the exact nature of the relevant illness on either a medical certificate or statutory declaration.
(h) The employee shall, wherever practicable, give the employer notice prior to the absence of the intention to take leave, the name of the person requiring care and that person's relationship to the employee,the reasons for taking such leave and the estimated length of absence. If it is not practicable for the employee to give prior notice of absence, the employee shall notify the employer by telephone of such absence at the first opportunity on the day of absence.
(i) In normal circumstances, the employee must not take leave under this subclause where another person has taken leave to care for the same person.
An employee may elect, with the consent of the employer, to take:
(b) long service leave.
(c) leave without pay for the purpose of providing care and support to a member of a class of person set out in 2.1.
(b) Overtime taken as time off during ordinary time shall be taken at the ordinary time rate, that is, one hour off for each hour of overtime worked.
(c) If, having elected to take time as leave in accordance with 3(a) above, the leave is not taken for whatever reason, payment for time accrued at overtime rates shall be made at the expiry of the twelve (12) month period from the date the overtime was worked, or earlier by agreement, or on termination.
(d) Where no election is made in accordance with paragraph 3(a), the employee shall be paid overtime rates in accordance with the relevant industrial instrument.
4. Use of make-up time
(b) An employee on shift work may elect, with the consent of the employer, to work "make-up time" (under which the employee takes time off during ordinary hours and works those hours at another time) at the shift work rate which would have been applicable to the hours taken off.
5. Grievance and dispute handling process
In the event of any grievance or dispute arising in connection with any part of the provisions of this circular, such a grievance or dispute shall be processed in accordance with established grievance and dispute handling procedures.
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The Career Medical Officers Association strongly recommends that users exercise their own skill and care
with respect to its contents and contact their industrial representatives for clarification.
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