Disclaimer: On 13 August 2020, the High Court handed down a decision regarding the method of accruing personal/carer’s leave under the National Employment Standards. The High Court has found that the entitlement to 10 days of personal/carer’s leave is calculated based on an employee’s hours of work, not days, and should be calculated as 1/26th of an employee's ordinary hours of work in a year.
The High Court’s decision overturns the previous decision made by the Full Federal Court in August 2019. As such, this article should only be used as a historic reference. Employers should not be referring to this article to set up personal/carer's leave for their employees.
As a result of the recent legislation changes around how personal/carer's leave should accrue, we have created this article to provide detailed instructions on how to update your existing business and employee leave settings. This relates specifically to updating the existing personal/carer's leave leave category from accruing based on hours worked to accruing based on calendar days, that is using the new leave category type "Personal/Carer's Leave".
N.B. If you are using a pre-built Award in your business, there will be an Award update to install that will include the update leave category settings. Refer to this article for specific instructions on the migrating process for Award employees.
To clarify, these instructions are only applicable to businesses that were created prior to 18 February 2020. Any new business created from 18 February 2020 and thereafter will have the new personal/carer's leave settings applied by default.
We have broken down the instructions into the following components:
- Configuring employee daily hours;
- Converting leave balances from hours to days;
- Updating default business leave settings;
- Review personal/carer's leave work type assigned to employees;
- Update existing personal/carer's leave requests.
Please ensure all pay runs are in a finalised state before completing any of the instructions below.
Configuring employee daily hours
In order to correctly determine the number of hours to pay an employee when personal/carer's leave is being processed in the pay run, a new employee setting in the employee's Pay Run Defaults screen has been added - "hours per day". Employees who do not have advanced work hours set up or whose daily hours vary from that of the business daily hours should take advantage of configuring this field.
N.B. By default, any employee who does not have advanced work hours set up will have the business' daily hours setting applied to their hours per day setting. As such, you should review and update this value for any employee whose daily hours vary to that stated in the business setting.
To extrapolate how many hours an employee works per day (or an average per day) from the platform, you can:
- divide the number of weekly hours worked by the number of days worked; and/or
- where employees do not have a regular work pattern and so their work hours are not accurately reflected in their Pay Run Defaults screen, generate a timesheet report over a reasonable period of time to determine an average number of daily hours. The average will be calculated by dividing the total duration over that period by the number of days worked in that period.
You can bulk update employee daily hours by exporting the employee extract, entering the value in column 'BF' HoursPerDay and then importing back in the platform. As stated above, only enter a field in this column for an employee who:
- does not have advanced work hours configured; or
- whose daily hours vary from the business' standard hours per day set up in the business' Details screen.
Converting leave balances from hours to days
Step 1: Determine current leave balances for existing employees
This is required in order to complete step 2. To obtain the leave balances, generate a Leave Balances Report as at the last finalised pay period end date. The hourly balances showing in the report will be the amounts you need to reverse in the pay run as per the instructions in step 2.
In order to convert the existing employees' balance from hours to days and in accordance with the new interpretation of personal/carer's leave provisions in the National Employment Standards, the first step will require an audit of employees' personal/carer's leave balances from their commencement date to ensure they are not worse off - as a result there may need to be some adjustment to the hours that have accrued. Once this is done, you can then convert the employees' balance to a days unit.
As a reminder each employee, whether full time or part time, is entitled to 10 days leave per year. This accrues at the rate of:
- 0.02739726 days per calendar day or part day of service for a non-leap year; and
- 0.0273224 days per calendar day or part day of service for a leap year.
You will need the employees' converted leave balance in days in order to complete step 5.
Step 2: Process adhoc pay run to zero out existing leave balances
The purpose of this step is to remove all personal/carer's leave balances currently stated in hours that rather need to be stated in days. Don’t worry, another pay run will be completed to then add the employees' leave balances back in the required days units.
To complete this step, create a new adhoc pay run for each pay schedule. Do not use the normal pay schedule which you use to pay your employees as this will impact the future leave liability and leave calculations. Set the pay period ending date to be 1 day after your last pay period ending date, for eg if your last pay run had a period end date of 2/1/20, the period end date for this adhoc pay run should be 3/1/20. Ensure the "Create pay run with empty pays" checkbox is ticked.
For each employee, reverse the leave balances by completing the following steps:
- Click on Actions > Adjust Leave;
- Select the relevant leave category;
- Enter a comment to explain the reason for the adjustment (optional);
- Untick the "Apply Earnings Rules" checkbox;
- Refer to the Leave Balances Report, enter the leave balance hours as shown in the report as an opposite amount i.e. if negative, enter in as a positive amount, if positive, enter in as a negative amount;
- Repeat the above for each employee whose personal/carer's leave needs to be reversed.
Prior to finalising the pay run, you can check the employee leave balances are now set at 0 by clicking on the "Leave Balances" button (to the left of the “Actions” button) within the employee’s expanded view. Alternatively, once the pay run has been finalised, you can generate a leave balances report to check the updated leave balances. If further adjustments are required, simply unlock the pay run and adjust the negative leave balance to the correct amount.
Once all leave adjustments have been entered, finalise the pay run. Ensure the pay slips for this pay run are not published as this is merely an adjustment to leave.
Step 3: Create new leave allowance templates (LATs)
The reason we suggest creating new LATs as opposed to update the existing LATs are twofold:
- There may be employees in the business that will continue to accrue leave on an hours per hour worked basis, ie they may not be subject to the NES, and so you will need to keep them on the existing LAT that links to the existing/old personal/carer's leave category; and
- To retain accurate historic records of previous leave taken.
To create new LATs, you can actually clone the existing version of a LAT as a starting point and then make the relevant change for personal/carer's leave. To do this:
- Hover your mouse over the existing LAT name so that the clone icon appears:
- Click on the icon to duplicate the LAT settings; a copied version will appear where you then just need to:
- Change the name of the LAT, for eg change to "Permanent Leave - No Loading (10 PCL days)";
- Disable the "Personal/Carer's Leave" leave category in the Enabled Leave Categories section;
- Enable the "Personal/Carer's Leave (10 days)" leave category in the Enabled Leave Categories section;
- Ensure 0 units are accruing against the old "Personal/Carer's Leave" leave category; and
- Ensure the "Personal/Carer's Leave (10 days)" leave category toggle is switched to 'On'.
- Click on "Save'.
Follow the above procedure for each LAT version that needs an equivalent new version.
Step 4: Update employee LAT settings
The purpose of this step is to ensure, moving forward, that employee personal/carer's leave is accruing correctly and stated as days. This step must be completed before step 5 to ensure the leave category units are configured correctly before adding the converted leave amounts to employee balances.
This step can be completed on an individual employee basis or in bulk.
At an individual employee level, navigate to the employee's Pay Run Defaults screen > select the new LAT version that incorporates the 10 days of personal/carer's leave from the "Apply the following Leave Allowances Template" dropdown > click on "Save".
Alternatively, you can complete this step in bulk using the employee import/export template by updating the value in column ‘BH’ LeaveTemplate for each affected employee and then importing back in to the system.
How do I update existing employee leave settings if LATs are not assigned to employees?
Firstly, we strongly recommend you change this immediately and start using LATs. The primary reason being it is a much easier method of managing leave entitlements for each employee. The business may have a number of leave categories set up in the business that do not apply to all employees or there may be different entitlements applying to the same leave category for a group of employees. If you do not use LATs you would have to manage this on a per employee basis, which is fraught with errors and unnecessary time wastage. More information on LATs can be found here.
If you still choose to not assign a LAT to employees, then you must ensure that the "Personal/Carer's Leave (10 days)" leave category is configured correctly for each employee. For example, a casual employee should have both the Can Apply For Leave and Enabled toggles switched off, whereas permanent employees should have them switched on.
Additionally, for permanent employees, ensure the old "Personal/Carer's Leave" leave category is no longer enabled and the standard allowance = 0 hours; to ensure this leave no longer continues to accrue.
Step 5: Process pay run to add converted employee leave balances
The purpose of this step is to add the employees' leave balances back in but in the converted days/weeks format. Refer to the Leave Balances excel report you generated during step 1 that also includes the days and weeks conversion calculation.
As per step 2, create an adhoc pay run (same one used in step 2) for each pay schedule (REMEMBER, DO NOT use your normal pay schedule that you use to pay your employees as per the reason stated in step 2). Set the pay period end date as your recent pay period date, for eg if your pay schedule was weekly and using the example in step 2, the period end date will be 9/1/20. Ensure the "Create pay run with empty pays" checkbox is ticked.
You will notice that each employee (with the relevant LAT assigned) will already have personal/carer's leave accruing in this adhoc pay run. This is due to the nature of how the leave accrues, ie on a per calendar day basis as opposed to based on hours worked. You can override the amount accrued by clicking on the pencil icon:
This will then allow you to override the amount displayed and enter the actual converted leave amount:
From there, you can enter a comment to explain the reason for the adjustment (optional) and the repeat the same process for each employee whose converted personal/carer's leave category balance needs to be entered.
Once all leave balances have been entered, finalise the pay run. Ensure the pay slips for this pay run are not published as this is merely an adjustment to leave.
Review personal/carer's leave work type assigned to employees
As part of the new leave changes, we have included a new "Personal/Carer's Leave Taken (10 days)" work type. The new work type is needed in order to link to the new "Personal/Carer's Leave (10 days)" leave category, as follows:
This means your business may now have 2 work types for personal/carer's leave and both may be enabled automatically for full time and part time employees. In order to remove employee confusion around which work type to use, you should either:
- remove the automatic enabling settings for full time and part time employees from the old personal/carer's leave work type. This will hide the work type from the employees' view without affecting historic timesheets that have previously used that work type. This method should be used if all permanent award employees will be migrating to the new personal/carer's leave configuration; or
- remove the automatic enabling settings for full time and part time employees from both the old and new personal/carer's leave work types. This will hide both work types from the employees' view. You will then need to manually assign the applicable work type to each employee. This can be done on an individual basis or in bulk. To make the change on an individual basis, navigate to the employee's Work Types screen > click on the checkbox of the work type you want to enable for the employee > click 'Save'. To apply the change in bulk, export the employee file csv > navigate to the "WorkTypes" column > enter the applicable work type name in this field > if there are already values in this column, you will need to add a pipe (‘|’) after the last work type before you add the relevant leave work type > then import the file. This method should be used if only some of the permanent award employees will be migrating to the new personal/carer's leave configuration.
Update existing unprocessed personal/carer's leave requests to be applied in future pay runs
This purpose of this step is to ensure that, moving forward, existing leave requests are applying the correct personal/carer's leave category and thereby the leave amount is being deducted from the correct leave category balance and in the correct leave unit.
To complete this step, navigate to the Leave / Manage Requests screen and filter the following:
- Leave Status = All Leave Requests; and
- Leave Category = Personal/Carer's Leave (or whatever you have called your leave category relating to sick leave or personal/carer's leave).
Regarding the "Leave Period" filter, click on the field to access the calendar and enter a custom range. The starting month should be that of the next pay run and the end month can be as far into the future you need to go. Then click on 'Apply'.
Once the results appear on the screen, complete this step for every request requiring updating:
- Click on the edit icon to open the leave request details. You will notice the Leave Category = Personal/Carer's Leave and the leave amount required is stated in hours:
- Click on the 'Leave Category' dropdown list and select the new leave category - Personal/Carer's Leave (10 days). You will notice the leave required amount changes from hours to days. Additionally, the amount has been converted into days using either the employee's advanced work hours settings or hours per day setting. Hover over the * Estimate text to get a detailed explanation of how the leave required in days was estimated:
- Click on 'Submit Request' to save the updated request;
- If the leave request was in an approved status, make sure to re-approve the request.
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