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Workforce Management FAQs

Below you will find all frequently asked questions relating to Remuneration and Benefits procedures.

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Absence from Work on Account of 'Catastrophic' or 'Extreme' Fire Danger Days

The purpose of this Information Sheet is to provide Human Resources Branch staff with support in the provision of HR advice to University staff who are absent from work on account of ‘Catastrophic’ or ‘Extreme’ fire danger days.

(Printable version)
  • What is a 'Catastrophic' or 'Extreme' Fire Danger day?

    The Country Fire Service (CFS) uses a Fire Danger Rating system to help inform the public of the level of bushfire risk and recomended action that should be taken for each risk category. The Fire Danger Rating is not a predictor of how likely a bushfire is to occur, but how dangerous it could be if it did occur.

    At the top tier of the rating system is the rating of ‘Catastrophic’ and ‘Extreme’ fire days.

    It is essential that staff members in bushfire-prone areas regularly check the CFS website for how this might impact on them and their family.

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  • What if I am required to leave work on account of a school closure or some other reason related to the Fire Danger Rating system?

    The University of Adelaide Enterprise Agreement (as amended) does not provide for a form of paid or unpaid leave specific to the fire danger of a given day.

    Other forms of leave entitlements may apply to these circumstances and are detailed in this fact sheet.

    If a staff member needs to be absent from work they should provide their supervisor with notice of their absence and indicate, where possible, the estimated duration of the absence, as soon as practicable.

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  • What forms of leave might be available to a staff member?

    Paid Leave

    Personal Leave

    A staff member (excluding casuals) is entitled to personal leave to provide care or support to a member of their family or household where that person requires care or support because of an unexpected emergency. Staff members accrue 15 working days (on a pro rata basis for part time workers) of personal leave per year.

    Annual Leave

    A staff member can apply to use their accrued annual leave for fire danger days.

    Special Leave

    In the event of absences from work caused by an emergency circumstance, members of staff (other than casuals) have an entitlement to take up to three (3) paid days of special paid leave per calendar year. Fixed term and continuing staff who are within the first year of their employment may access special paid leave provided that they have an annual leave credit equal to the amount of leave to be taken.

    It is important to note that an emergency circumstance will be assessed on a case by case basis depending on the circumstances of how a fire, or fire danger rated day impacts upon the staff member. For this reason it is important that a staff member notifies their supervisor of such an absence at the first opportunity.

    Unpaid Leave

    Unpaid Carer’s Leave

    Staff members who cannot take paid personal leave are entitled to two days of unpaid carer’s leave for each ‘permissible’ occasion when a member of their family or household requires care or support because of an unexpected emergency.

    Leave Without Pay

    In the event that a staff member (other than casuals) does not have an entitlement to a form of paid leave, they may apply to their Area Manager for leave without pay. Leave without pay may be approved at the discretion of the Area Manager.

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  • What additional leave is available to volunteers who respond to an emergency on 'Catastrophic' or 'Extreme' Fire Danger Days?

    A volunteer of a recognised emergency management body (e.g. South Australian Country Fire Service, State Emergency Service and Country Fire Authority) employed on a casual basis can apply for unpaid voluntary emergency management leave.

    A volunteer of a recognised emergency management body employed on a fixed term or continuing basis is entitled to take up to five (5) days paid leave per calendar year to undertake ‘voluntary emergency management activities’ and up to one (1) day of paid leave per emergency as recovery.

    Any staff member seeking to take this leave (paid or unpaid) must give their supervisor notice as soon as reasonably practicable of the period or expected period of their absence. On request, the staff member must provide their supervisor with evidence that their absence is for engaging in activities arising out of their membership to the emergency management body and/ or documentary evidence of their membership, training requirements and call-outs attended.

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Acting Appointments

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The purpose of these FAQs is to provide information in relation to the types of leave available to eligible University staff.

  • Annual Leave
  • Leave Without Pay (LWOP)
  • Long Service Leave (LSL)
  • Parental Leave
  • Personal Leave (Sick/Carers)
  • Other Leave
  • Annual Leave

    • How do I apply for annual leave?

      Submit your leave application through Staff Service Online (SSO)

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    • How many days leave in advance can an employee take?

      SSO allows an employee to request up to two days in advance for annual leave.

      Should a manager wish to request that an employee be able to utilise more than this amount, they will need to write a justification for the request of leave in advance outlining the “business requirements”.

      The business case must take into consideration:

      • Fixed term employees – sufficient leave will have accrued by the end of the fixed term period to cover the annual leave taken in advance
      • The deduction of annual leave to cover the Christmas close-down period (usually two to three days)
      • If the employee leaves the University the area will be liable for the overpayment due to leave taken in advance

      This request is to be submitted to Human Resources for action.

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    • Can you cash-out annual leave?

      Annual leave cannot be cashed out.

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    Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

    Long Service Leave (LSL)

    • How can I apply for LSL?

      Submit your leave application through Staff Service Online (SSO)

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    • When can I take LSL?

      If you have qualified for LSL, you are entitled to take LSL when you choose, provided you have given your supervisor at least six months’ written notice.
      You should, however, discuss your requirements with your supervisor first to ensure the LSL you are applying for fits in with the operational requirements of the workplace.

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    • When will I qualify for LSL and how much will I have?

      Unless you have been granted recognition of prior service (refer to clause 4.11.6 of the Enterprise Agreement), you will not be eligible to take LSL prior to achieving seven years continuous service with the University.

      LSL accrues at the rate of 6.5 working days for each year of service with the University, pro-rata to your employment fraction.

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    • Will I lose my LSL if I don’t reduce it?

      No, untaken LSL will not be lost. Where you have accumulated a LSL balance in excess of 80 working days, your supervisor may give you written notice to reduce your entitlement to 30 working days within a two year period.

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    • What is the eligibility criteria for cashing out LSL?

      You may request to cash out LSL if you have accrued an entitlement to at least 65 days of LSL.
      Applications to cash out LSL are limited to twice per year and must not exceed a total of 30 working days per year.
      For further information, please refer to clause 4.11.5 of the University’s Enterprise Agreement (as amended).

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    • How can I cash out my LSL?

      In order to request payment in lieu of LSL, a Cashing Out of Long Service Leave Application Form needs to be completed and forwarded to Human Resources.

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    • Am I entitled to LSL as a casual staff member?

      Yes, casual staff are entitled to long service leave under the University’s Enterprise Agreement and can take long service leave upon completion of seven years continuous service in the employment of the University.
      Continuous service means employment where there has been no break in employment of more than eight weeks.

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    • Is my prior service recognised by the University for LSL purposes?

      If you were working for an Australian University in a paid full-time or part-time capacity prior to commencing with the University, you are, subject to clause 4.11.6 of the Enterprise Agreement, eligible to have your prior service recognised for long service leave purposes.

      If you are a professional staff member, and were working in the South Australian or Commonwealth Public Service immediately prior to commencing with the University (i.e. within the preceding two months) you are also eligible to have your prior service recognised.

      To have your prior service recognised, fill out the Recognition of Prior Service Application Form and email it to Human Resources for processing.

      If you were employed by the University on a casual basis prior to being employed on a fixed term or continuing basis, you can apply to have your prior casual continuous service recognised for the purposes of long service leave.
      To have your prior casual continuous service with the University recognised for the purposes of long service leave, send an email with your request to Human Resources.
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    Parental Leave

    For the purpose of these FAQs, parental leave also refers to and is inclusive of both maternity leave and adoption leave for eligible University staff.

    Personal Leave (Sick/Carers)

    • Under what circumstances can I use personal leave?

      As per clause 4.2 in the Enterprise Agreement (as amended) Personal leave can be used for Personal Leave, Sick Leave and Carers Leave.

      • If you are unfit for work because of a personal illness, or personal injury, that affects you; or to provide care or support to a member of your family, or a member of your household, who requires care or support because of:
      • a personal illness, or personal injury; or
      • an unexpected emergency

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    • What can I use carer’s leave for?

      As per clause 4.2 in the Enterprise Agreement (as amended) Personal leave can be used for Personal Leave, Sick Leave and Carers Leave.

      • Carer’s/personal leave can be taken to provide care or support to a family or household member who requires care or support because of;
      • a personal illness or personal injury
      • an unexpected emergency

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    • Am I able to take sick leave if I haven’t accrued the time?

      Sick leave or personal leave can not be taken in advance. You can only apply for the period of time you have actually accrued. If you require sick leave and do not have the time needed accrued you will need to apply for a different leave type.

      Sick leave without pay is an option if no other leave type is available. Staff should consult with their supervisor to discuss their options.

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    Other Leave

    • Am I entitled to cultural obligation leave?

      Paid cultural obligation leave for a period of three working days is available for the purpose of fulfilling cultural requirements and obligations that are recognised as part of your identified culture or one with which your partner, family and/or community group identifies.

      In addition to the three paid working days leave absence, you will also be entitled to 10 days leave without pay in every two year period for ceremonial or cultural purposes, where you identify and are accepted as a member of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

      For more information please refer to clause 4.7 in the University’s Enterprise Agreement (as amended).

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    • Do I need to apply for cultural obligation leave?

      Yes. Submit your leave application through Services Services Online (SSO).

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    • What is community service leave and when is it granted?

      Community service leave is available to all staff (other than casuals) and may be granted for the following purposes:

      • Attendance for the purpose of jury service
      • Appearance as a witness in any case
      • Undertaking emergency management activities, such as an emergency or natural disaster

      For more information please refer to clause 4.6 in the University’s Enterprise Agreement (as amended).

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    • Jury Duty - how do I submit leave and manage payments?

      Jury Duty leave requests are submitted via SSO under Absence Name: Community Service Leave, Reason: Jury Service.  

      The Courts Administration Authority of SA advises they pay jurors for each day’s attendance:
      You will receive an Income Statement from the Australian Taxation Office via your myGov account for you to claim this income in your annual tax return.

      The University will continue to pay you whilst you are on jury duty.  The University can claim reimbursement for your wages by you and your manager completing the ‘Form 2 – Juror Claim (Employer Reimbursement)’:
      Complete this Juror Claim form, have your manager complete the Employer section and return it to the Sheriff’s Office by hand or scan it to
      The supervisor/manager that is advised on the claim form will receive a cheque.   This cheque is to be given your local area Finance team which will be credited back into their budget.

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    Leaving the University

    The purpose of these FAQs is to list the steps to be taken when a staff member is leaving their employment with the University.The Supervisor and staff member may use this to ensure that all necessary tasks are completed prior to or on the staff member’s last day of employment.

    (Printable version)

    Managing a Temporary Vacancy or Leave of Absence

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    Managing Excess Annual Leave Accrued by your Staff Members

    This FAQ will assist you to address excess annual leave accrued by your staff members.

    • Why is it important for my staff members to take leave?

      Enabling your staff to take leave from the workplace to rest and recuperate makes an important contribution to their health and wellbeing. By ensuring your staff take leave, you also play a key role in the reduction of leave liability costs to the University.

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    • How do I know if my staff members have excess annual leave?

      Your staff member has excess annual leave if they have a balance of 30 days or over. This is pro-rated for part-time staff. For example, if one of your staff members is working 0.6 FTE, they will have excess annual leave if they have over 18 days accrued.

      Shift workers have an excess annual leave balance at 35 days or over which is also pro-rated for part-time staff.

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    • How do my staff members accrue excess annual leave?

      This issue frequently affects your staff members who were working full-time prior to taking parental leave. Annual leave balances continue to accrue whilst away during parental leave, which can result in an excess balance upon their return to work.

      An excess annual leave balance also arises if a staff member reduces their employment fraction through a Voluntary Flexible Working Arrangement (VFWA) after a period of working full-time. This is also a common arrangement on return from maternity leave.

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    • What can I do to address excess annual leave accrued by my staff members?

      Your staff member should plan to take any excess annual leave as soon as practicable.

      During PDR discussions, supervisors should encourage their staff to plan, schedule and take their 20 days (or pro-rata equivalent) annual leave each year. Staff who do not take their leave, do not have a plan in place to manage their leave and whose accrued leave is greater than 30 days, may be given three months’ notice, in writing, by their supervisor to plan for and reduce their leave balance.

      If they do not reduce their leave balance to 30 days or less, or make arrangements to take their excess leave within the three month period, their supervisor may direct them to take leave immediately, or together agree a leave management plan to reduce their leave balance to less than 30 days.

      You are required to consider a request for a VFWA in the context of reasonable business needs. As a manager, you may approve a part-time arrangement for your staff member on the condition that excess leave is taken in the first place to establish the part-time working pattern. This arrangement would continue until your staff members' annual leave balance reduces to an amount no longer considered excess.

    • What can I do to address excess annual leave for a staff member who has requested a VFWA (reduced fraction)?

      You are required to consider a request for a VFWA in the context of reasonable business needs. Excess leave (either a current balance or an excess that would arise as a result of a reduced employment fraction) should be addressed before the reduced fraction commences.

      If your staff member already has an excessive leave balance prior to reducing their fraction, you could approve their request, on the condition that they move to the part time arrangement by taking leave for the reduced fraction until their balance is no longer excessive. Alternately, they could use a block of leave prior to starting their reduced fraction VFWA.

    • Where can I learn more?

      You can register to attend the Flexible Working Arrangements Masterclass which will inform you of the various arrangements available to staff. Through practical case studies and discussions with other people leaders, you will learn about the considerations you need to make when responding to requests for VFWA.

      You can refer to the Managing Staff Excess Leave Accruals chapter of the HR Handbook which provides the Workforce Management policy, procedure, forms and templates.

      You can also contact your HR Advisor for advice in managing flexible working arrangements and addressing excess annual leave for your staff members.
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    Further Information

    For further information please contact Human Resources.


    Contact HR Service Centre

    For all enquiries please contact the Human Resources Service Centre.

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