Special Leave with Pay - Care of a Sick Child - Success

13 January 2017

The PSA has been successful in challenging the South Australian Dental Service's (SADS) application of the “Special Leave with Pay – Care of a Sick Child who is a Dependent” (SLWP-CSCD) entitlement.

The success should also reaffirm conditions for all PSA members employed under the Public Sector Act, including SA Health employees, to have their SLWP – CSCD applications approved.

PSA members had advised that SADS would only consider the SLWP-CSCD after exhaustion of other Personal Leave entitlements, including Family Carer's Leave.

The PSA challenged the SADS interpretation by contending that the SLWP-CSCD entitlement (“3 Days Caring for a Sick Child) was in existence in SADS and other incorporated Health units prior to the 1996 Enterprise Agreements and the provision for Family Carer's Leave. The SLWP-CSCD entitlement remains in place and the employer has to approve such leave as they would have back in 1995. If the leave is applied for, as long as it fulfils the requirements, then that must be approved. To not do so is a breach of the Enterprise Agreement.

The South Australian Public Sector Wages Parity Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2014 clearly states that it is the choice of the employee (not employer) which form of leave they apply for – i.e. “The ability to access this leave (Family Carer's Leave) does not in any way limit an employee's right to apply for Special Leave in accordance with arrangements provided elsewhere for the leave” (Clause 6.3, final clause under Clause 6 - Family Carer's Leave).

The Commissioner's Determination 3.1: Employment Conditions – Hours of Work, Overtime and Leave (Section F, Part 2, page 49, Care of a Sick Child who is a Dependent) confirms “there is no requirement to use Personal Leave to care for a sick child prior to accessing this type of leave”.

SADS have assured the PSA that Managers and divisional heads have been informed and that there should be no more complaints from members.

Should any PSA member continue to have difficulties in this regard please contact the PSA Member's Rights Hotline on 8205 3227.