Australia Leave Laws

Do you have employees living and working in Australia? If so, brush up on Australia’s leave laws, in relation to observed public holidays, annual leave, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, and more.

This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.

Australian Public Holidays

Australia has eight states or territories, each with its own public holidays. These are: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia.

Here are the public holidays in each territory for 2024 – note that if a holiday such as New Year’s Day or Christmas Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, there is an additional public holiday given the following working day.

National Public Holidays

These public holidays apply to all states:

January 1New Year’s Day
January 26Australia Day
March 29Good Friday
March 30Easter Saturday
March 31Easter Sunday
April 1Easter Monday
April 25ANZAC Day
December 25Christmas Day
December 26Boxing Day

Next we’ll share the additional holidays for each individual state.

Australian Capital Territory

March 11Canberra Day
May 27Reconciliation Day
June 10King’s Birthday
October 7Labour Day

New South Wales

June 10King’s Birthday
October 7Labour Day

Northern Territory

May 6May Day
June 10King’s Birthday
August 5Picnic Day


May 6Labour Day
August 14Royal Queensland Show (Brisbane area only)
October 7King’s Birthday

South Australia

March 11Adelaide Cup Day
June 10King’s Birthday
October 7Labour Day


March 11Eight Hours Day


March 11Labour Day
June 10King’s Birthday
November 5Melbourne Cup

Western Australia

March 4Labour Day
June 3Western Australia Day
September 23King’s Birthday

Public Holiday Pay

If a public holiday falls on a day that an employee usually works, they’re entitled to the day off, along with their regular base rate of pay.

If the employee does work on a public holiday, they may be entitled to extra pay, and/or an additional paid day off (to be taken at a later date). This depends on their employment agreement.

Annual Leave in Australia

As per the National Employment Standards, all employees in Australia are entitled to four weeks of annual leave (based on the regular number of hours they usually work).

For example, if someone works 40 hours per week, they will be entitled to 160 hours (40 hours x 4 weeks) annual leave each year.

For a part time employee, working 20 hours per week, they will be entitled to 80 hours (20 hours x 4 weeks).

One exception is shift workers, who are entitled to five weeks’ paid leave per year.

The minimum leave entitlements apply to all permanent employees. Casual employees (those without fixed working hours) are not entitled to annual leave by default.

Accruals & Rollovers

Starting the first day of employment, annual leave begins to accrue for an employee. This means the employee’s leave entitlement gradually accumulates as they work – as opposed to receiving the entire year’s leave at one time.

Annual leave rolls over at the end of the year – an employee does not have to take their annual leave during the year in which it is given.

Paying Out Leave

Employees may be allowed to take annual leave out as cash. The rules on this come down to their employment agreement. This can be agreed upon between employee and employer, and a written agreement should be supplied.

Employers may require employees to cash out part of their annual leave, should it reach “excessive” levels, which generally means the employee has either weeks’ annual leave banked (or 10 weeks for shift workers).

Sick Leave in Australia

All employees in Australia are entitled to sick and carer’s leave. This covers when the employee is unwell and unable to work, or when needing to care for an immediate family member, such as:

It also includes household members, meaning any person that lives with the employee.

Full-time employees receive 10 days’ sick and carer’s leave per year. For part-time employees, this is calculated pro-rata, at 1/26th of their regular working hours.

This figure begins accumulating from the employee’s first day of work.

An employee must give notice to their employer to get paid for sick and carer’s leave, and the employer can ask for evidence, such as a medical certificate.

Maternity Leave in Australia

When an employee gives birth, their partner gives birth, or they adopt a child under 16 years of age, they are entitled to paid parental leave.

This entitles the employee to up to 18 weeks’ paid leave, as long as certain conditions are met.

Employees are also entitled to up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave.

To be eligible, employees must be the primary caregiver for the child, as well as having worked for their employer for at least 12 months prior to the birth or adoption date.

Paternity Leave in Australia

Working dads and partners (including same-sex partners) are entitled to Dad and Partner Pay when their child is born, or they adopt a child under 16. This gives up to 2 weeks’ paid leave, should the employee be eligible.

Additional Leave Types

Bereavement Leave in Australia

Employees are entitled to compassionate and bereavement leave in the following circumstances:

The length of bereavement leave in Australia is 2 days, unless the employment agreement allows for more.

Family & Domestic Violence Leave

All employees – including part-time and casual employees – can take up to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year, in the case of receiving violent, threatening or otherwise abusive behavior by a close relative.

This includes:

Long Service Leave

Individual states and territories in Australia have various rules in regards to long-service leave. For example, if an employee works for 7 years with the company, they may receive additional annual leave each year.

Find each state’s rules here.

Community Service Leave

Employees can take leave for certain community activities, such as emergency management activities or jury duty.

There is no time limit for the amount of community service leave an employee can take. This is generally unpaid, with the exception of jury duty, which is paid.

Learn more:

Community service leave

Jury duty

Relevant Legislation for Reference

National Employment Standards – Fair Work Ombudsman

Leave – Fair Work Ombudsman

Services Australia – Parental Leave

This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.

timeline illustration

Flamingo is a leave management solution built for modern teams.

No more cluttered spreadsheets and manual data entry. Manage your entire team's leave, directly from Slack, and speed up your leave management workflow.

Learn more Sign Up Free