26 September 2023

Circular sets new leave purchase rules

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Government Sector Labour Relations (GSLR) has issued a Circular providing guidance to purchased leave arrangements in the Western Australian public sector.

GSLR said Circular 8/2021 Purchased Leave Guidelines, which superseded a 2005 circular on the same subject, stated that the two main types of purchased leave arrangements were 42/52 arrangements and deferred salary arrangements.

“A 42/52 salary arrangement enables eligible employees to purchase up to 10 additional weeks of leave per year by receiving a reduced salary rate over 52 weeks of the year,” it said.

“A deferred salary arrangement allows employees to reduce their salary by 20 per cent over four years and take paid leave in the fifth year at 80 per cent of their salary.

Expanding on the Circular, Executive Director for GSLR, Jane Hammond said public sector employees were eligible to apply for purchased leave arrangements as provided for in applicable awards and agreements.

“A fixed-term contract employee may take part in a 42/52 salary arrangement so long as the employee’s tenure is sufficient to cover the arrangement and subject to employer agreement,” Ms Hammond said.

“A fixed-term contract employee engaged on a contract of five years may take part in a deferred salary arrangement subject to employer agreement.”

She said employees must satisfy the employer’s accrued leave management policy prior to taking purchased leave.

“Employers should apply the principles of fairness, equity and timeliness when considering applications from employees,” Ms Hammond said.

“Each application is to be assessed on its merits and consideration given to the personal circumstances of the employee.”

She said approval was subject to operational requirements and leave management policies of employers, and approval for an agreed period did not imply approval for further periods of purchased leave.

“Employers should encourage employees to seek financial advice before entering into purchased leave arrangements,” Ms Hammond said.

She said the Circular had to be read in conjunction with the appropriate award or agreement provisions.

“If anything in this Circular is inconsistent with awards or agreements, the award or agreement prevails,” Ms Hammond said.

The GSLR five-page Circular 8/2021 Purchased Leave Guidelines can be accessed at this PS News link.

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