Important Win for Personal Leave at WAIRC

The CPSU/CSA has won an important case at the West Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

The Full Bench ruled in favour of a member whose employer, WA Police, tried to direct her to use unpaid personal leave after a series of health complications.

The win sets a precedent to stop employers claiming the right to direct employees to take their personal leave.

After using all her annual and paid personal leave entitlements during her illness, the member’s health was improving and she was on a graduated return to work when WA Police directed her to undertake an examination by a Doctor, to assess whether she was fit to work.

The result of the assessment was the member was not fit to undertake her normal duties.  

Her employer then directed her to take unpaid personal leave, while they evaluated her for forced medical retirement, leaving her without an income for 38 days.

But after two more Doctor’s opinions, the member was deemed fit to return to work.

The CPSU/CSA disputed that the General Agreement allows employers to direct staff to take Personal Leave.  

Further, WA Police’s own internal policy stated that when they are determining whether a person is fit to undertake their normal duties, that employee is to be paid their usual salary

The matter ended up in the WAIRC, with the initial decision in favour of Police. But, the CPSU/CSA appealed the decision and the case was heard by the Full Bench of the WAIRC on 15th December 2018, in which they determined in favour of the CPSU/CSA.

The important decision means in the WA public sector use of personal leave must only be initiated by the employee and cannot be directed by the employer.

A great win for the Union and public sector workers in WA!

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