New rules give employers more control over leave

EMPLOYERS will be given more rights to direct their workers to take excessive annual leave, after a Fair Work Commission decision.

The full bench on Thursday also granted an industry claim to cash out accrued annual leave as part of 120 modern awards.

But there are safeguards, including a maximum of two weeks' paid leave able to be cashed out a year.

The bench was persuaded by a move to include a provision in 48 awards, allowing for annual leave to be taken in advance of it being accrued, as part of an agreement between workers and bosses.

Employers with employees covered by 51 awards will also be able to pay workers via electronic transfer during their normal pay cycle instead of before they take leave.

But the commission didn't allow for a "close-down" clause, which would have seen businesses being able to shut down, requiring annual leave being taken at the best time in terms of production.

The Australian Industry Group said the new arrangements will give both employees and employers more flexibility.

Chief executive Innes Willox especially noted the enhanced rights to direct workers to take leave, saying the issue has been a "major headache for employers".

"The Fair Work Commission deserves to be commended for the practical and sensible approach that they have taken in this decision," he said.

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