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Section D – Balancing work & personal life

Last updated 4 March 2020


43. Work / personal life balance


The ATO and employees agree on the importance of an appropriate balance between working and personal lives. The ATO is committed to supporting employees to achieve an appropriate balance between their work responsibilities and their personal life.


When an employee is required to work, or likely to work, excessive hours over a significant period, the manager will review workloads and priorities in consultation with the employee, including appropriate strategies for addressing the situation. A similar process will apply where travel demands become, or are likely to become, excessive.


Without limiting the NES an employee who is a parent, or has responsibility for the care of a child of school age or under or a child under 18 who has a disability, may request flexible working arrangements, including part-time hours.


44. Hours of work


For full-time employees, the specified hours of work are 147 hours in a settlement period.


For part-time employees, the specified hours are less than 147 hours in a settlement period and as set out in their part-time work agreement.


The standard hours of work for full-time employees are 8.30am to 12.30pm, 1.30pm to 4.51pm, Monday to Friday.


The bandwidth for ordinary working hours is 7.00am to 7.00pm, Monday to Friday.


If a delegate and a majority of the affected employees agree, approval may be given to vary the arrangements within all or any part of the business line so the bandwidth for ordinary working hours may range from 7.00am up to 9.00pm. It will still be up to an individual employee to agree with the delegate on their regular hours.


Business lines should monitor the implementation of the new arrangements to assess the impact on the health and well-being of the employees in the workplace.


An employee shall record the actual times of their commencing and ceasing duty in such a manner as required by the delegate.


Regular hours


Regular hours are the pattern of duty by which an employee will work the specified hours. This may operate in conjunction with flextime or flexible hours’ arrangements.


An employee and their manager will agree on the employee's regular hours within the bandwidth hours balancing the needs of the employee and clients. The regular hours can be changed by agreement between the employee and their manager to take effect from the beginning of the next settlement period.


However if no agreement is sought or can be reached, a full-time employee's regular hours will be the standard hours of work, with access to flextime or flexible hours arrangements. For part-time employees, regular hours will be those specified in their part-time work agreement.


For employees subject to the regular bandwidth, the maximum time for regular hours on any day is 10 hours. For employees subject to an extended bandwidth it is 12 hours and 15 minutes. A meal break of at least 30 minutes must be included after no more than five continuous hours.


Regular hours shall be worked continuously except for meal breaks.


A manager may require an employee to work all or part of their regular hours on a given day where there are clear operational requirements. This provision does not imply that a manager can require an employee not to work during regular hours due to lack of work on that particular day.




Timekeeping and adjustments to leave credits will be based on absence during regular hours or rostered shiftwork hours.


Where an employee's regular hours on a particular day exceeds 7 hours 21 minutes, the employee may elect for the hours in excess of 7 hours 21 minutes to be deducted from their flextime instead of leave.


Full time employees may change their regular hours to 7 hours 21 minutes per day for all or part of the settlement period, or periods in which they take Annual Leave in order to ensure access to 20 days Annual Leave per annum.


For Long Service Leave, Maternity Leave, Maternal Leave, Supporting Partners Leave, Adoption Leave, Foster Parent Leave or Parental Leave, timekeeping will be credited on the basis of an average of 7 hours and 21 minutes per day, Monday to Friday, over a full settlement period.


Public holidays


Regardless of whether a full-time employee's regular hours are more than, less than or equal to 7 hours and 21 minutes on a day that is scheduled as a public holiday, they will be credited with 7 hours and 21 minutes for time keeping purposes for that day. Regular part-time employees will be credited for the hours specified in their part-time agreement.


Industrial action


Employees participating in industrial action during their regular hours, regardless of what those hours are on a particular day, are not entitled to make use of flextime or flexible working arrangements to cover any such period of industrial action.

45. Flextime


Flextime arrangements provide a level of flexibility to employees in their daily working patterns and applies to employees (excluding shiftworkers) whose salary is below the minimum salary point of the EL1 level. It is not designed to increase or reduce the total number of hours that must be worked.


The use of flextime is conditional upon operational requirements being met.


Flextime can only be worked during the employee’s bandwidth.


A manager may direct an employee not to work hours in addition to their regular hours where there is insufficient work.


Approval from an employee’s manager is required for an absence during their regular hours (flex leave). The manager will consider the needs of employees and the ATO’s operational requirements when determining whether or not to approve flex leave.


When prior approval is not possible due to unforeseen circumstances and an employee wants to commence work more than one hour later than their scheduled starting time (under their Regular Hours), they must inform their manager before the scheduled starting time. The manager will determine whether the approval of flex leave is appropriate.


Flextime will accrue subject to the maximum time that can be credited in a day which is:



a) 10 hours for employees subject to the general bandwidth; or

b) 12 hours 15 minutes for employees subject to the extended bandwidth;


plus 15 minutes or less of continuous extra duty under clause 34.8.


The maximum flex credit at the end of a settlement period is 25% of the employee’s regular hours and may be carried over indefinitely.


When an employee has more than the maximum flex credit at the end of a settlement period because of unanticipated work demands or leave, the relevant manager will authorise sufficient flex leave in the next settlement period to reduce the credit to an acceptable level.


If the flex credit is not reduced to the acceptable level using the process outlined in subclause 45.9, the employee will be considered to be on flex leave from the start of the subsequent settlement period until the flex credit is reduced to the acceptable level.


The maximum flex debit that can be carried from one settlement period to the next is 15 hours and can be carried over indefinitely. Any excess debit will be removed by a salary deduction. Alternatively, the employee’s manager may approve for the excess to be removed by a deduction from annual or purchased leave. In special circumstances the manager may allow an employee an additional settlement period to reduce their flex debit to the limit.


Where a flex debit is 15 hours or less in a settlement period, the manager may approve an employee’s request for any amount of the flex debit to be removed using a salary deduction or deduction from the employee’s annual or purchased leave.


Prior to cessation of employment with the ATO, all reasonable steps should be taken to balance flex debits or credits. If this is not practicable:



a) a credit up to the maximum allowable limit will be paid to an employee at ordinary rates of pay; or

b) any flex debits will be recovered from salary and/or termination pay owing to the employee (except in the case of death).


When a manager has previously warned or counselled an employee about the misuse of flextime arrangements or a serious matter warranting immediate action arises, the manager may direct the employee to work regular hours without access to flextime.

46. EL working patterns


This clause applies to employees with a salary at or above the minimum salary point of the EL1.


There is an expectation that Executive Level employees, because of their senior work roles and responsibilities, will be required, from time to time, to undertake reasonable additional hours of work.


Having regard to this requirement, EL employees and their manager may agree to flexible working arrangements. Under these arrangements, part and full day absences may be approved. However, for EL2 employees these will not be on an hour for hour basis for time worked over and above the employee’s regular hours.


Where a flexible working arrangement is in place, requests from EL employees to access flexible time-off will not be refused, subject to operational requirements.

47. Rostering


Rostering will take place in areas of Service Delivery (including support areas) undertaking direct client contact related activities or conducting processing work where the volume requires it. Areas undertaking direct client contact related activities include those where the primary function is to interact with clients using the telephone (inbound or outbound) and over other digital communication platforms.


Where there is a business need and the ATO proposes to introduce rostering arrangements to a business area that is not currently rostered, the ATO is committed to consulting with employees and their representatives consistent with clause 7.


Rostering arrangements under this clause will only be applied between the hours of 7.45am to 6.15pm, Monday to Friday.


Emphasis on voluntary arrangements


If an area is rostered the ATO will work with employees to:



a) minimise impacts on employee access to flexibility;

b) maximise resources to meet anticipated demand, to allow employees to take leave entitlements and flex days, and have access to study leave, training and development; and

c) will rely on voluntary arrangements to the maximum extent practicable, while ensuring that operational requirements are met.


The arrangements (which may be reflected in rosters or schedules) may include:



a) managing the accumulation and taking of planned leave and flex leave;

b) facilitating regular hours agreements that acknowledge not everyone wants to work the same working pattern;

c) voluntary rosters and schedules;

d) providing a facility to identify other employees with suitable skill sets to assist employees who wish to arrange a swap of working times; or

e) the use of partial scheduling and/or team based scheduling where appropriate.


The process of consultation and negotiation used to develop the voluntary rostering arrangements will be:



a) the work cycle is set as appropriate to meet the business needs of the area. The work cycle will be a maximum of 4 weeks and determined in accordance with work needs of the work area;

b) the ATO advises affected employees of predicted staffing requirements as early as practicable;

c) employees advise their preferred working hours, including their preferred lunch hours and any hours they cannot work for hardship or other reasons;

d) the ATO develops a draft roster which identifies any gaps;

e) the ATO will genuinely attempt to address any gaps through voluntary means by working with employees. This may include offering an incentive for subsequent rosters such as first preference to preferred working times or flex leave to those who commit to addressing the gaps in the current roster;

f) then implement, if required, an ‘as directed’ roster to fill remaining gaps.


The ATO is committed to getting voluntary arrangements to work for every work cycle to the maximum extent practicable. In establishing the roster, the ATO will:



a) take account of the personal circumstances of employees concerned;

b) ensure equity and fairness for all affected employees;

c) not roster an employee at times that the delegate determines, on reasonable grounds, would cause the employee hardship; and

d) complement national scheduling processes with local arrangements if needed.


At any time an employee can seek to renegotiate their rostered hours or implement a swapping arrangement, however the hours can only be changed with the agreement of the Director/manager.


A roster developed under this clause will be regarded as the employee’s regular hours for the period they are rostered.


Overtime may be scheduled when client demand exceeds the employee hours available.


Overtime is also applicable where an employee has completed their rostered hours for work and is directed to perform additional work (subject to the 15 minute rule in subclause 34.8).


Where an employee believes their proposed roster is unfair or their circumstances have not been fairly considered, they should raise the matter as soon as possible with their manager or Director.


The manager or Director should provide a decision in a reasonable period before the commencement of the roster.

48. Regular part-time employment


Unless specifically provided by this clause, the terms and conditions for regular part-time employees will be the same as for full-time employees, except they will be calculated on a pro rata basis. No pro rata adjustments will be made to any expense related allowances that the employee is eligible for under this Agreement.


No full-time employee will be required to take up a part-time job without their written agreement.


The hours of work may be changed at any time by agreement between the delegate and the employee.


A regular part time employee and their manager may, by agreement, vary the hours worked within a cycle (4 weeks). An employee is free to decline any request for variation to working hours.


The employee’s average hours per week over a settlement period will be used for leave accrual purposes. The employee’s 'average' hours is the total hours to be worked in that 4 week cycle divided by 4. The average hours per week will be used for leave accrual, flex carry over and payment of salary purposes.


Regular part-time employees can carry over hours (credit or debit) from one settlement period to another. The carryover will be a maximum of 25% credit or 10% debit of the employee’s average hours per settlement period.


The hourly rate of pay for a regular part-time employee will be the same as for a full-time employee.


A regular part-time employee whose salary is at or above the minimum salary point of the EL1 level and is given approval in exceptional circumstances to access overtime provisions will be paid their normal hourly rate for time worked up to 147 hours in a settlement period.


Approval may be given in exceptional circumstances for regular part time employees above the salary barrier to receive overtime payment for duty beyond this entitlement.


A regular part-time employee is not to get paid for more hours under the minimum payment for public holiday duty than if the part-time employee had worked a normal day.


There are guidelines on regular part time employment.


Under this agreement there are not:



a) any limits on the number of part time employees engaged within the ATO; and

b) any minimum or maximum hours of work for regular part time employees.


Access to part-time work by existing employees


A reasonable request by an employee to access part time employment, or to renew a current regular part-time employment arrangement, will be approved if there is a balance between the employee’s personal needs and operational requirements.


Before an employee commences regular part time duty, hours of work are to be specified in writing.


The maximum period for each part-time agreement is 12 months.


A proposal to work part time, where an employee has been temporarily assigned to duties, can only be for the duration of the temporary assignment.


Hours of work will not be varied without the written consent of the employee.


The employee’s part-time agreement will cease and they will revert to full-time:



a) at the expiry of the period; or

b) where the employee has been successful in their application for promotion, or permanent or temporary transfer, when the employee commences those new duties.


Nothing in this subclause prevents the employee from initiating a new proposal at the end of the period or with respect to the new duties.


A full time employee permitted to perform their duties on a part time basis for an agreed period may, if circumstances alter before the expiry of the agreed period, revert to full time duties as soon as practicable, but no later than the expiry of the period.


If an employee is assigned to different duties for the period, the employee will be allowed to move to appropriate full time duties at the employee’s classification level, having regard to the employee's qualifications and experience.


Employees engaged as part-time


The ATO may engage an employee on a regular part-time employment arrangement.


On engaging an employee under the provisions of subclause 48.21, the delegate will specify:



a) the hours of work to be worked in each week over a settlement period; and

b) the times to be worked on each day of the cycle.


An employee who is engaged as a part-time employee may only convert to full-time employment by promotion or assignment to full time duties.


Hours of work may be varied by agreement between the employee and the delegate.

49. Job sharing


Job sharing arrangements between two or more regular part-time employees may be approved by the delegate. This will be subject to operational circumstances and the agreement of each employee.

50. Working at home


A formal working at home arrangement may be entered into or varied by agreement between the ATO and an employee when it is suitable for both the employee and ATO, provided ATO operational requirements can continue to be met.


A formal working at home arrangement is to be reached that:



a) meets security and work health and safety requirements;

b) must be in writing setting out the relevant conditions and arrangements

c) must outline arrangements for cost of establishment; and

d) can be terminated by agreement or on four weeks’ notice.


Working at home arrangements may be terminated without notice if the employee fails to comply with the agreed arrangements for home based work.


An employee working at home is covered by the same employment conditions as an employee working at an office site. This includes access to conditions in this Agreement associated with ‘field work’ as defined in Attachment E.


Apart from situations covered by subclause 42.1 the employee’s ATO office is deemed to be their usual place of work for the purposes of any work travel.


The delegate may approve for the ATO to meet all or part of the costs of establishing a working at home arrangement.


This clause does not affect a delegate’s ability to approve ad hoc periods of working away from the office on a case by case basis.


Approval may be given for employees to work at home while they are suffering from a minor illness or injury, or have responsibility for another person who needs minor care, but not if it is more appropriate for the employee to use Personal Leave.


Short term suspension


Without limiting termination arrangements, working at home arrangements may be suspended on a short-term basis due to operational requirements, such as the need to deploy employees to priority functions. If this is necessary, the following conditions will apply:



a) the ATO will give the employee a minimum of one week’s notice (and where it can, as much notice as possible) of the suspension of arrangements (this notice may be less if the employee agrees);

b) the ATO in reaching a decision on suspension will take account of any hardship the employee might have;

c) such suspension will not exceed eight weeks, unless a longer period is agreed with the employee; and

d) at the end of the suspension, the previous working at home arrangements will be reinstated.

51. Employee Assistance Scheme


Employees will have access to a confidential, professional counselling service for employees and their families to help employees resolve both personal and work related issues.


This service will be provided at no cost to employees, for up to six consultations.


52. Public holidays


Employees will be entitled to the following public holidays:



a) New Year's Day (1 January) or, if that day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday;

b) Australia Day (26 January) or, if that day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday;

c) Good Friday;

d) Easter Monday;

e) Anzac Day (25 April);

f) The Queen's birthday holiday (on the day on which it is celebrated in a State or Territory or a region of a State or Territory);

g) Christmas Day (25 December) or, if that day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, 27 December; and

h) Boxing Day (26 December) or, if that day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, 28 December.

i) Any other day, or part-day (for example, the day variously called ‘Eight Hour Day’, ‘Labour Day’, or ‘May Day’), declared or prescribed by or under a law of a State or Territory to be observed generally within the State or Territory, or a region of the State or Territory, as a public holiday, other than a day or part-day, or a kind of day or part-day, that is excluded by the Fair Work Regulations from counting as a public holiday.


The delegate and an employee may agree on the substitution of a day or part day that would otherwise be a public holiday, having regard to operational requirements.


Approval may be given for an employee to substitute a cultural or religious day of significance to the employee for any day that is a prescribed holiday. If the employee cannot work on the prescribed holiday, the employee will be required to work make-up time at times to be agreed.


Where a public holiday falls during a period when an employee is absent on leave (other than Annual, Purchased, paid Personal or War Service Sick Leave) there is no entitlement to receive payment as a public holiday. Payment for that day will be in accordance with the entitlement for that form of leave (for example,. if on Long Service Leave on half pay, payment is at half pay).

53. Christmas closedown


The ATO will close its normal operations from noon on the last working day before Christmas, with business resuming on the first working day after New Year’s Day.


For the Christmas closedown for 2018, the ATO will close its normal operations from close of business Friday 21 December 2018, with business resuming on the first working day after New Year’s Day 2019.


Employees will be provided with time off for the Christmas closedown and will be paid in accordance with their regular hours of work. When an employee is absent on leave, payment for the Christmas closedown provision will be in accordance with the entitlement for that form of leave (for example,. if on Long Service Leave half pay, payment is at half pay).


There will be no deduction from Annual Leave, Purchased Leave or Personal Leave credits for the closedown days.


54. General leave provisions


All leave is subject to approval by the delegate.


Paid leave will count as service for all purposes.


Where leave is planned, approval must be gained prior to the employee’s absence from duty.


Where leave is not planned and the employee will not be attending work during their regular hours, the employee is required to notify an appropriate manager as soon as practicable.


In all cases of unplanned leave applications, if the application has not been submitted prior to the employee returning to work, it must be forwarded to the manager as soon as practicable after they have returned to work.


Unless otherwise specified, an employee may access leave for part day absences.


Unauthorised absence


Any absence from duty that is not approved by the delegate is an unauthorised absence.


When an employee has an unauthorised absence:



a) the period of unauthorised absence shall not count as service for any purpose; and

b) the employee shall not be paid in respect of the period.


Portability of leave


When an employee moves from another agency where they were an ongoing APS employee, the employee’s unused accrued Annual Leave and Personal Leave (however described) will be recognised, provided there is no break in continuity of service.


When an employee is engaged as either an ongoing or non-ongoing APS employee immediately following a period of ongoing employment in the Parliamentary Service or the ACT Government Service, the employee’s unused accrued Annual Leave and Personal Leave (however described) will be recognised.


For the purposes of this clause a ‘move’ includes:



a) a promotion, move at level and reduction in classification;

b) a temporary move to the ATO; or

c) a return to the ATO at the end of a temporary move.


Expenses on cancellation of leave


An employee recalled to work from leave or who has leave cancelled will be reimbursed:



a) any non-refundable deposits and advance fares in respect of the employee and dependants;

b) non-refundable rent paid for accommodation not utilised; and

c) other incidental expenses incurred as a result.

55. Annual Leave




An employee will accrue four weeks paid annual leave for a complete year of service. Leave will accrue progressively and be credited on the first day of each month.


The accrual of leave credits will be reduced on a pro rata basis, for the total leave without pay taken, if more than 30 calendar days leave without pay not to count as service was taken in the calendar year.


Additional credit for shift workers


Shift workers who are regularly rostered to work on Sundays and public holidays will accrue 0.1 of a week extra Annual Leave, to a maximum of one week in a calendar year, for each occasion their rostered shift falls on a Sunday.


Direction to take leave


The ATO may direct an employee to take one fifth of their Annual Leave credit if that credit exceeds 367.5 hours.


Payment for unused leave on cessation of APS employment


Upon cessation of APS employment, an employee will be paid in lieu of unused Annual Leave credits, including a pro-rata amount for any part month entitlements not yet credited. The amount paid in lieu will include any allowances the employee would have received had they taken the leave.


For the purpose of subclause 55.5, where an employee is engaged as an employee with the ATO on the next working day after cessation of the previous ATO employment, the employee is not taken to have ceased employment with the APS.


Cashing out of Annual Leave


An employee may cash out one or two weeks of Annual Leave credit subject to the following:



a) the employee must apply to cash out Annual Leave in writing;

b) the employee can only cash out Annual Leave once in any twelve month period;

c) at the time that the cash out occurs the employee must take at least one week of Annual Leave; and

d) following the taking of the Annual Leave and the cash out the employee’s remaining accrued entitlement to paid Annual Leave must be at least four weeks.


The employee will be paid the amount that would be payable if the employee had taken the leave they are cashing out.


Salary during Annual Leave


The salary paid to an employee while they are on Annual Leave will be the salary paid as if the employee was continuing on duty.

56. Purchased Leave scheme


An employee may purchase up to eight weeks of paid leave each year (in one week blocks) through a pro-rata reduction in their annual salary.


Delegate approval is required to purchase more than four weeks leave each year.


Any unused leave credits not taken within two years will be paid in lieu at the salary rate that was applicable to the employee on the last day of the accrual.


Purchased Leave will not reduce salary for superannuation purposes or any other purpose covered by this Agreement.


Upon cessation of employment with the ATO, an employee will be paid in lieu of any unused Purchased Leave credits.


Once a period of Purchased Leave has been approved, it will not be rescinded by the ATO unless exceptional circumstances arise.

57. Long Service Leave


An employee is eligible for Long Service Leave in accordance with the Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976.


The minimum period during which Long Service Leave can be taken is seven calendar days (at full pay, or 14 days at half pay). Except as otherwise provided by legislation or this Agreement, Long Service Leave can only be broken by attendance at work.

58. Sabbatical Leave


An employee may be given approval to work at a 20% reduced eligible salary for a four year period followed by a one year Sabbatical Leave period.


During the sabbatical year the employee will be p

aid an amount equivalent to the amounts forgone from salary for the previous four years, in equal fortnightly instalments.


Upon cessation of employment with the ATO or other withdrawal from the scheme, an employee will be paid the balance of any amounts forgone during the four year period.


Sabbatical Leave does not count as service for any purpose.

59. Assistance with holiday care program costs


If an employee with a child(ren) at school is formally restricted by the delegate from taking Annual Leave, Purchased Leave or Long Service Leave during school holidays, the ATO will pay the employee a portion of the cost of an accredited school holiday program for each child. The amount payable is set out in Attachment A, Schedule 5.


An amount paid cannot exceed the actual cost incurred, and is only paid on days when the employee is at work.


An employee whose partner receives a similar benefit from their employer is not eligible for the payment.

60. Personal Leave


An employee will be able to access Personal Leave as follows:



a) Personal Leave for sick purposes (Personal Leave - Sick) taken by an employee because of a personal illness, or injury, of the employee; or



b) Personal Leave for caring purposes (Personal Leave - Carer’s) taken by an employee to provide care or support to:




i. a member of the employee’s immediate family or household; or

ii. another person for whom the employee has a caring responsibility, who requires care or support because of:





a. a personal illness, or injury, of that person; or

b. an unexpected emergency affecting that person.


Accrual of paid Personal Leave


An ongoing employee who has been employed with the ATO since before 30 November 2011 will be credited with 3.4 weeks paid Personal Leave on each personal leave anniversary.


An ongoing employee engaged with the ATO on or after 30 November 2011 will be credited with:



a) one week of paid Personal Leave on the date of engagement, and each annual anniversary thereafter; and

b) 0.2 weeks on the date of engagement and each monthly anniversary thereafter.


Notwithstanding subclause 60.2, an employee who:



a) moves to the ATO from another agency on or after 30 November 2011 (excluding a return from a temporary move); or

b) returns to the ATO at the end of a temporary move after the commencement of this Agreement


will be credited with leave on the basis of subclause 60.3, except that their anniversary date for monthly and annual credit will be based on the anniversary date the employee brings with them from their previous agency.


Any unused leave credits will remain part of an employee’s Personal Leave credit.


Advancement of credit


An employee who accrues Personal Leave as per subclause 60.3 and who has exhausted their accrued paid Personal Leave credits, may be advanced some or all of the remainder of their annual entitlement:



a) where a minimum of one day Personal Leave is required, and

b) satisfactory documentation is provided.


Deferral of credit dates


An employee’s anniversary and monthly accrual dates will be deferred by the whole period of leave without pay, if more than 30 calendar days leave without pay not to count as service have been taken since the employee's last annual anniversary date.


Recognition of prior service


Where leave is not recognised under subclause 54.10, service in an APS agency, the ACT Government or the Parliamentary Service may be recognised as service for the purpose of Personal Leave accrual, provided any break in service does not exceed two months. Credit dates and amounts for prior and current service are determined as if the prior service was with the ATO as an ongoing employee engaged after the commencement of this Agreement.


Reduced accrual of Personal Leave credits


Where leave to undertake employment outside the ATO counts as service, any Personal Leave credits accrued shall be reduced by:



a) where records of personal leave granted to the employee are available - the sum of those periods of leave of absence on account of illness so recorded; and

b) in any other case - nine hours for each three months the employee was on leave.


Satisfactory documentation


The delegate may approve Personal Leave for an employee (other than EL2 employees) without requiring satisfactory documentation for absences:



a) of not more than three consecutive working days; and

b) up to a total of eight days of absences in a personal leave year.

The delegate may approve more than eight days without documentation, but only as unpaid personal leave, and only if it is warranted by the circumstances.


All other applications for Personal Leave are required to be supported by satisfactory documentation.


For EL2 employees, the delegate may require satisfactory documentation before approval is given for an EL2 employee to take Personal Leave or to continue on leave.


Satisfactory documentation in support of Personal Leave is:



a) for the purposes of Personal Leave – Sick:




i. a medical certificate from a registered health practitioner; or

ii. if it is not reasonably practicable for the employee to provide a medical certificate, a statutory declaration made by the employee;



b) for the purposes of Personal Leave – Carer’s (if the care or support is required because of a personal illness, or injury):




i. a medical certificate from a registered health practitioner; or

ii. if it is not practicable for the employee to provide a medical certificate, a statutory declaration made by the employee;



c) for the purposes of Personal Leave - Carer’s (if the care or support is required because of an unexpected emergency):




i. a statement from a relevant authority; or

ii. if it is not practicable to obtain a statement from a relevant authority; a statutory declaration made by the employee.


Satisfactory documentation for a recurring medical condition


In addition, if an employee suffers from a recurring medical condition, a statement of fact confirming that they suffer from a recurring medical condition will be accepted in the following circumstances:



a) it is provided by a registered health practitioner and states that the employee suffers from a particular medical condition that may cause them to be unfit for work; and

b) the absence is for a total of up to a week in a Personal Leave year and each absence is two consecutive days or less.


The statement of fact will be valid for a maximum of 12 months.


The delegate may require separate documentation for any absence provided that prior notice is given to the employee.


Unpaid and Half Pay Personal Leave


A delegate may approve unpaid Personal Leave when:



a) an employee has exhausted Personal Leave credits; or

b) an employee is not entitled to paid Personal Leave; or

c) an employee requests unpaid Personal Leave and the delegate determines it is warranted in the circumstances; or

d) the delegate determines that it is not appropriate to grant paid personal leave for caring purposes (caring for ‘another person’).


An employee is entitled to up to 2 days unpaid Personal Leave – Carer’s under subclause 60.16(a) for each occasion when the employee is required to provide care or support to a member of the employee’s immediate family or household because of personal injury or illness of, or unexpected emergency affecting, the member.


A delegate may approve the conversion of Personal Leave credits to half pay for the period of leave required for the purpose of personal illness or injury. This will result in the period of leave for which the employee is absent being double the amount of leave deducted from the employee’s credits.


Additional leave credits for compassionate purposes


Where an employee has no Personal Leave credits and the Commissioner decides special and compassionate circumstances exist, additional credits may be approved.


Access to other leave types when Personal Leave with pay has been exhausted


Subject to the relevant provisions of this Agreement, an employee who is unfit for work for a period of at least one week may be granted Annual Leave, Purchased Leave or Long Service Leave where they have utilised all paid Personal Leave.


Managers may waive the one week period in 60.20 when medical treatment is being undertaken for a long term illness, or on an ad hoc basis, over a long term period.


Personal leave during periods of other leave


If an employee produces satisfactory documentation that they were unfit for work while on Annual Leave or Purchased Leave, or unfit for work for one day or more while on Long Service Leave and/or Flex Leave, their Annual Leave, Purchased Leave, Long Service Leave and/or flex credits will be reinstated and Personal Leave – Sick granted.


If an employee produces satisfactory documentation that they were required to provide care or support for a member of their immediate family or household while on Annual Leave, their Annual Leave credits will be reinstated and Personal Leave – Carer’s granted.


Limit of carer’s leave for ‘another person’


The maximum continuous period of paid Personal Leave – Carer’s to care for a person for whom the employee has caring responsibilities (but who is not a member of the immediate family or household) (‘another person’) is two weeks per occasion.


If the employee has accessed ten days of Personal Leave – Carer’s in the employee’s Personal leave year to care for ‘another person’ for whom the employee has caring responsibilities the maximum continuous period of paid Personal Leave on a single occasion should not exceed one week but a manager may, having regard to all the circumstances of a case, approve up to two weeks.


Leave to count as service


When an employee has been absent from work due to illness or injury for a continuous period of 78 weeks, any leave without pay after 78 weeks has passed will not count as service for any purpose other than Long Service Leave.


Personal Leave – Carer’s without pay will count as service, except for the purposes of the Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976 unless otherwise approved, to a maximum of 30 calendar days each Personal Leave year.

61. Compassionate and Bereavement Leave


Compassionate Leave


An employee is entitled to two days paid Compassionate Leave for each occasion when a member of the employee’s immediate family or household:



a) contracts or develops a personal illness that poses a serious threat to their life; or

b) sustains a personal injury that poses a serious threat to their life.


Bereavement Leave


An employee is entitled to up to three days paid Bereavement Leave on each occasion when a member of the employee’s immediate family or household dies or on the death of a person with whom the employee had a close personal relationship.




An employee may be required to provide appropriate documentation in support of their application for Compassionate or Bereavement Leave.


Compassionate or Bereavement Leave while on other leave


If an employee becomes eligible for compassionate leave while on Annual Leave, their Annual Leave credits will be reinstated and Compassionate Leave granted.


If an employee becomes eligible for Bereavement Leave while on Annual, Purchased or Long Service Leave, their Annual, Purchased or Long Service Leave credits will be reinstated and Bereavement Leave granted.

62. Defence Reservists Leave


An employee may be granted leave (with or without pay) to fulfil their Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reserve, continuous full time service (CFTS) or Cadet Force obligations.


An eligible employee is entitled to ADF Reserve leave with pay, for up to four weeks during each financial year and an additional two weeks’ paid leave in their first year of ADF Reserve service. With the exception of the additional two weeks in the first year of service, leave can be accumulated and taken over a period of two years.


Employees are not required to pay their tax free ADF Reserve salary to the ATO in any circumstances.


An employee who is an officer or instructor of cadets in a Cadet Force may be granted paid leave of up to three weeks each financial year to perform duties as an officer or instructor of Cadets. For these purposes ‘Cadet Force’ means the Australian Navy Cadets, Australian Army Cadets, or the Australian Air Force Cadets.


Defence Reserve leave counts as service for all purposes, except when an employee takes unpaid leave to undertake CFTS, in which circumstance it will not count for Annual Leave purposes.

63. War Service Sick Leave


Where the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has issued a statement to an employee certifying that a condition is a war-caused medical condition, absences on War Service Sick Leave may be approved on the basis of a certificate from a recognised medical practitioner stating the absence is due to that condition.


An eligible employee may accrue two separate credits:



a) on commencement in the ATO, or recognition by the DVA, whichever is the later, a special credit of up to nine weeks War Service Sick Leave; and

b) annual credit of three weeks.


Unused annual credits accumulate, subject to a maximum credit balance of nine weeks.


Leave may not be granted from the annual credits until the special credit is exhausted.

64. Cultural, Ceremonial and NAIDOC Leave


An employee of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent may be granted paid leave for up to 10 days in any period of two years for cultural or ceremonial purposes.


A further one day’s paid leave per year may be granted to an eligible employee to attend and participate in NAIDOC Week activities. Employees wishing to attend activities during NAIDOC Week involving more than one day’s absence may be granted flextime, Purchased, Annual or unpaid Miscellaneous Leave.


Cultural, Ceremonial and NAIDOC Leave is in addition to Compassionate (including Bereavement) Leave.

65. Leave in the interests of the Community


Emergency Service Volunteer Leave


Without limiting the requirements of the Fair Work Act, leave for an employee who engages in a voluntary emergency management activity (including reasonable recovery and travel time), will be approved and leave for ceremonial duties may be approved.


A maximum of four days with pay for each emergency will be granted, subject to the provision of satisfactory evidence that the employee’s services were requested by the relevant organisation, where required by the delegate.


An additional day of paid leave for recuperation may also be granted, on application, where the employee will not have had an adequate break between the emergency duty and returning to work.


In addition, the employee may be granted paid leave for:



a) reasonable travel time associated with the emergency activity; and/or

b) regular training.


Periods of unpaid leave will not count as service.


Where an employee is granted unpaid leave under this clause during a period of Annual Leave, the Annual Leave credits for the period of that unpaid leave will be reinstated.


Where there is a proclaimed natural disaster, the DC ATOP may approve an additional amount of leave with or without pay.


Jury service


Employees who are required by a court to attend either for jury selection or to act as a juror will be released from duty on full pay for the period required, without the need to formally apply for leave.


The employee will be required to advise their manager in advance and provide proof of the need for their attendance.


If the employee receives a payment from the court for attendance, they must repay that amount to the ATO for the period of absence. If the repayment is not made, an equivalent amount will be deducted from the employee’s salary.


Where an employee is required to attend for jury service during a period of Annual Leave, the Annual Leave credits will be reinstated.


Donating blood and vaccination for official overseas travel


Donating blood, or attending a medical practitioner for the purposes of vaccinations for official duty, during working hours is taken to be ordinary duty.

66. Witness leave


An employee who is summoned as a witness in a Court (except in civil proceedings, unless a Crown witness), administrative tribunal or industrial tribunal will be granted paid leave.

67. Miscellaneous Leave


An employee may be granted Miscellaneous Leave either with or without pay where it is in the interests of the ATO, and there is no specific leave arrangement for the circumstances.


If leave is granted without pay, the leave may count as service for some or all purposes.


There are guidelines on the granting of Miscellaneous Leave. Employees must be given a written notice of the decision to grant, or refuse to grant, Miscellaneous Leave. Where a request is refused the written notice will include reasons.


68. Maternity and Maternal Leave


The Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 provides for paid leave to eligible employees. Approval may be given to spread the payment of paid Maternity Leave over a maximum period of 24 weeks.


Any arrangement to spread the payment for this leave will not increase the period that counts for service.


An employee who is entitled to Maternity Leave under the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 will also be entitled to four weeks of paid Maternal Leave. Approval may be given to spread the payment over eight weeks. Only the first four weeks will count as service.


Maternal Leave must be taken continuously and can only be taken immediately after the first 12 weeks of Maternity Leave under the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973.

69. Adoption and Foster Parent Leave


An employee who;



a) adopts a child; or;



b) assumes long term responsibilities arising from the placement of a child by a fostering arrangement




i. by a person or organisation with statutory responsibility for the placement of the child; and

ii. where the child is not expected to return to their family,


is entitled to 14 weeks of paid leave (subject to subclause 69.2 to 69.5).


To be eligible for Adoption or Foster Parent Leave:



a) an employee must have at least 12 months of continuous APS service and be the primary care giver of the child

b) the child cannot have lived with the employee for a period of six months or more; and

c) the child cannot be a child of the employee or the employee’s partner, unless that child had not been in the custody and care of the employee or the employee’s current partner for a continuous period of six months or more.


Where both parents are eligible employees in the ATO they may share the 14 weeks for the period that they are the primary care giver.


The leave must be taken in one continuous period and be taken during the period commencing one week prior to assuming responsibility for the child and ceasing six months after assuming responsibility.


If the fostering arrangement is terminated during the period of Foster Parent Leave then the leave will cease.

70. Other Parental Leave


Supporting Partners Leave


An employee who is not entitled to paid Maternity Leave, or paid Adoption and Foster Parent Leave is entitled to two weeks of paid Supporting Partners Leave on the occasion of:



a) the birth of their child (or their current partner’s child),

b) the adoption of a child; or

c) the long term fostering of a child.


The leave must be taken in one continuous period commencing within six weeks of the day of birth of the child or the day the employee assumes responsibility of an adopted child or fostered child.


Unpaid Parental Leave


An employee who is entitled to paid Supporting Partners, Maternity or Adoption and Foster Parent Leave is also entitled to leave without pay to care for the child. This leave without pay must be taken within a period of 66 weeks commencing on the day of birth of the child or the day the employee assumes responsibility of an adopted child or fostered child.


In addition to the leave available under subclause 70.2, the employee who has, or will have responsibility for the care of the child is entitled to leave without pay to care for the child until the child is up to two years old.


Unless otherwise required by legislation, leave without pay under this clause does not count as service for any purpose.

71. Returning to work after parental leave


On ending parental Leave (including Maternity, Supporting Partners, Adoption and Foster Parent Leave), an employee is entitled to return to:



a) the employee’s pre-parental leave duties; or

b) if those duties no longer exist, available duties for which the employee is qualified and suited at the same classification and pay as applied pre-parental leave.


For the purposes of this clause, duties means those performed:




i. if the employee was moved to safe duties because of the pregnancy – immediately before the move; or

ii. if the employee began working part-time because of the pregnancy – immediately before the part-time employment began; or

iii. otherwise – immediately before the employee commenced parental leave.


All employees returning from parental leave (including Maternity, Supporting Partners, Adoption and Foster Parent Leave) will have access to part time work in accordance with clause 48 until the child has attained school age, if they want it.


Hours of work (specified total hours and regular hours) must be agreed by the delegate and the employee in the normal manner. Work may not be able to be provided in the same job that the employee had as a full time employee.