NES Series – Part 7: Community Service Leave

posted by Employment Innovations on August 27th, 2012  Posted in News

What is the entitlement?
If an employee engages in an eligible community service activity, they are entitled to be absent from employment for a period on community service leave. The period of leave can be made up of the time in which the employee engages in the community service activity, reasonable travelling time and reasonable rest time. There is no specified maximum or minimum period under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) for which the employee can be absent on community service leave. The absence must be reasonable in all the circumstances.

An eligible community service activity includes: jury duty, voluntary emergency management activity or an activity prescribed in regulations as an eligible community service activity.

Except for jury service (see below) community service leave is unpaid.

What is an Emergency Management Body?
A recognised emergency management body is a body that has a role or function under a plan that is for coping with emergencies and/or disasters and is prepared by the Commonwealth, a state or territory or a fire fighting, civil defence or rescue body, another body which has the substantial purpose of securing the safety of persons or animals in a natural disaster or emergency or protecting property in a natural disaster.

What are the rules regarding Jury Service?
If an employee is absent from his or her own employment for a period because of jury service and the employee is not a casual employee, the employee must be paid their base rate of pay for the employee’s ordinary hours. Payment is only required for the first 10 days of jury service (but subject to any greater provision under State law which continues). The employer may require the employee to give the employer notice that would satisfy a reasonable person that the employee has taken all reasonable steps to obtain any amount of jury service pay (this is paid by the relevant court) to which the employee is entitled and of the total amount paid. The total amount payable to the employee by the employer is reduced by the total amount paid as jury service pay.

What notice does an employee have to give?
An employee who wishes to be absent from his or her employment for a period of community service leave must give notice to their employer. This must be given as soon as practicable and must advise the employer of the period, or expected period of the absence.

Does the employee have to provide evidence?
An employer has the right to request evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that the absence is because the employee has been or will be engaging in eligible community service activity. Examples would include a letter from the emergency management body or from the court for jury service.

NES Part 1 - Annual Leave

NES Part 2 - Personal/Carers and Compassionate Leave

NES Part 3 - Parental Leave

NES Part 4 - Long Service Leave

NES Part 5 - Hours of Work

NES Part 6 - Flexible Working Arrangements

NES Part 7 - Community Service Leave

Q and A on the NES - Fair Work Information Statement

Q and A on the NES - Public Holidays

Q and A on the NES - Notice of Termination

Q and A on the NES - Redundancy

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