What qualifies as an “unexpected
emergency” for carer’s leave purposes?
Monday, 22nd September 2014, by Loran McDougall
In today's Workplace Bulletin:
Carer’s leave is paid or unpaid leave given to an employee because they need to provide care and support to a member of their immediate family or a member of their household because:
Until next time,
Case Law: What qualifies as an “unexpected emergency” for carer’s leave purposes?
by Charles PowerLate last year, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) resolved a dispute between an employer and an employee with a 14-year-old son.
Editor-in-Chief, Employment Law Practical Handbook
The employee and her husband were both fly-in fly-out employees who worked the same 7-day roster, including during the school holidays. The employee usually arranged for her son to be looked after by his grandparents during holidays but, on this occasion, the grandparents were away travelling. The employee made alternative arrangements for a friend to look after her son.
Four days before the employee was due to fly out from Cairns, the friend unexpectedly had to leave Cairns to look after a family member who had been hospitalised. The employee had no one else who could care for her son and so remained at home with him, claiming carer’s leave for doing so.
The employer’s enterprise agreement contained a similar clause to that in the National Employment Standards – that personal/carer’s leave can be taken by employees if they need to care for immediate family members due to an “unexpected emergency affecting the member”. However, the employer did not believe that the friend’s unavailability constituted an emergency because it did not “affect” the employee’s son. As such, the employer refused the request for carer’s leave and instead required the employee to take annual leave.
The FWC disagreed with the employer, finding that:
Employment Law Practical Handbook
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