Carer’s Leave: Who Decides Which Relationships Count?

Management don’t always have the right answers or know how to apply the relevant award or agreement. It’s always worth checking in with your union if you think you might have been told something incorrect. A CPSU member checked in with the Member Advice & Support Team recently when their manager rejected their application for carer’s leave. The member had put in an application to utilise their Award entitlement because they needed to look after their step-grandson due to an unexpected emergency.

Why was the request refused? The member’s manager didn’t think a step-grandchild qualifies as ‘immediate family’.

The CPSU got behind the member and wrote to the Director of People & Culture voicing our concern that:

  1. the refusal of carer’s leave is inconsistent with the definition of ‘immediate family’ in the award,
  2. interpretation of awards and agreements should be guided by People & Culture and Human Resources and not left to the discretion of managers and supervisors,
  3. this approach unfairly disadvantages families and disregards the complex make-up of family structures.

The member won the fight and was able to access their entitlement to carer’s leave.

Tasmanian State Service workers are entitled to use carer’s leave, which is part of the personal leave entitlement, to look after an ill or injured member of your immediate family or household, or to provide care and support due to an unexpected emergency. Managers do not get to decide who your family is or whether your relationships count.

If you are unsure about how your manager applies your award entitlements or think your manager or supervisor is feeding you poor advice without checking in with People & Culture or Human Resources, the Member Advice & Support Team is here to help you. If you have any questions about kind of leave you can access for different scenarios, or a question about how an award or agreement should be applied to you, give us a call on 6234 1708 or email us at CPSUDirect@tas.cpsu.com.au.

We live in a more diverse world than ever. Right now CPSU members are standing up to make our rights even more inclusive, including recognising kinship relationships for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander workers. You can get more involved in supporting our campaign at https://www.cpsu.com.au/rights-voice-pay/

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