Sick on RDO – should employee be paid?

Sick on RDO – should employee be paid?

By Paul Munro on 13 February 2018 Is an employee who was ill on her rostered day off entitled to paid personal leave?

This question was recently sent to our Ask an Expert service.

Q An employee became ill yesterday (a Monday) and will be absent from work for the remainder of the week. Our production employees work on an averaging system which allows a rostered day off every four weeks. The employee's rostered day off (RDO) will be next Friday.

The employee has provided a medical certificate verifying her illness, including the RDO, but is only claiming four days’ paid personal leave.

Our question is: if the employee is ill on her RDO, is she entitled to paid personal leave for the day and entitled to take the RDO at a later date (as with annual leave), or does the RDO apply instead of the paid personal/carer’s leave? She is employed under the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations 2010.
A The employee can only claim paid personal/carer’s leave for any day she is required to attend for work. The RDO is considered a non-working day for the purpose of the Fair Work Act and the applicable modern award.

This means that, in this case, the employee is entitled to four days' paid personal leave, with the RDO being taken as normal. The RDO is not transferred to a later date.

Public holidays and RDOs

The situation is different, however, if a public holiday falls on an employee’s RDO. For example, if the employee’s RDO coincided with (say) the Australia Day public holiday, the applicable modern award may refer to an arrangement whereby the RDO is taken on another day.

Generally, a modern award or an enterprise agreement that allows for the implementation of a RDO system provides that the RDO cannot fall on a public holiday. It is usually to be taken at some other mutually agreed time. This is because the public holiday provisions of the Fair Work Act and the relevant state or territory public holiday law determine which day or days to be proclaimed a public holiday.

The applicable modern award will usually refer to the National Employment Standards with respect to public holidays and provide for an arrangement as to when a day off for the public holiday is to be taken by the employee.

For example, the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010 (cl.44.3) provides that where a full-time employee’s ordinary hours of work are structured to include a day off and such day falls on a public holiday (other than a Saturday or a Sunday), the employee is entitled to either:
  • 7.6 hours of pay at the ordinary time rate
  • 7.6 hours of extra annual leave, or
  • a substitute day off on an alternative week day.
Reference should be made to the applicable modern award or enterprise agreement to determine what arrangements may be agreed to between an employer and an employee when a public holiday falls on a RDO.

The bottom line: An absence on a rostered day off due to personal illness or carer responsibilities is not counted as paid personal/carer’s leave but as a rostered day off.

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