HR Tips Q1 2017 – Managing excess annual leave when Voluntary Flexible Working Arrangements are requested


Welcome to the first of our quarterly HR Tips. Aligned with the launch of the new HR Advisory function this month, we intend to provide people leaders with a quarterly practical tip on a HR issue that arises commonly within the University.

Managing excess annual leave when Voluntary Flexible Working Arrangements are requested

The management of excess annual and long service leave is an important matter for the University, not only because of our commitment to support staff health and wellbeing but also because of the University’s commitment to managing the cost of our leave liability over time.

To access the Managing Staff Excess Leave Accruals Procedure (including the templates that you may use to direct staff, who are not actively planning to reduce their leave balance, to take excess leave in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement), refer to

hr-tips-q1-2017Excess annual leave is defined in the Enterprise Agreement as an accrued balance of over 35 days (40 for shift workers) and pro-rated for part-time staff. For instance, a staff member working 0.6 FTE is considered to have an excess annual leave balance if they have over 21 days accrued. The issue of excess annual leave often particularly affects staff members returning from maternity leave who have accrued leave while working full time and wish to return to work on a “reduced fraction“ (part-time) basis.

Ideally, whether a staff member requests to reduce their employment fraction via a Voluntary Flexible Working Arrangement (VFWA) when returning from maternity leave, or at any other time, before agreeing to the VFWA, consideration should be given to addressing any existing excess annual leave balance and/or the excess annual leave balance that will arise as a result of the staff member reducing their fraction and working part-time (such that the excess leave balance would then be defined on a pro-rated basis).

The University is required to consider a request for a VFWA in the context of reasonable business needs. Depending on the circumstances, the University may approve a part-time arrangement conditionally on the basis that on return to work, excess annual leave will be taken in the first instance (to establish the agreed part-time work pattern) until such time the leave balance is reduced to an appropriate pro-rata amount. At that time, the VFWA would come into effect.

If the staff member already has a VFWA in place, the University may manage excess annual leave by varying the current VFWA to increase the part-time fraction by a number of hours or days that are then taken as leave by the staff member.

If you are interested in learning more about Flexible Work Arrangements including how to manage leave balances as part of the decision making process, register with HR to attend a Flexible Work Arrangements Masterclass.

This masterclass will inform managers about the flexible work options available at the University and the steps that they should take to consider a request. The class is supported by practical case studies and there is an opportunity for discussion with other people leaders.

Questions or Feedback?

We’d like to hear your thoughts on how we can tailor HR Tips to address the challenges and opportunities presented to you in your role as leader of people in the University. Please email HR Feedback with your comments or suggestions for future quarterly HR Tips.

If you have a general HR query, please get in touch with our friendly HR Service Centre team on 8313 1111 or complete the online enquiry form.

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