Business Deadlines


COVID and Payroll: Annual vs Personal/Carers’ Leave

5 January 2021

Unfortunately, for many would be holiday makers, the December 2021 – January 2022 period wasn’t what we were hoping and planning. With COVID numbers increasing and testing wait times longer than before there were last minute cancellations or delays. Which naturally has some people asking, “how do I handle this in payroll?”

Our quick guide is below but you can always contact us for support.

  • Employees who produce reasonable evidence can change their annual leave to personal leave. At present reasonable evidence may be the text message from your state health department confirming a positive case. Given that many of us are using Rapid Antigen Tests it may be a photograph of their positive test result. Employees should also let you know when they were well enough to exit Personal Leave.
  • Carers’ Leave is when a person is required to care for another member of their immediate family and comes from the same leave balance as their Personal Leave. The difference is that they may provide as evidence a PCR test result or Rapid Antigen Test result for a child, parent, grandparent or partner etc.
  • Needing to isolate due to close contact does not meet the standards recommended by legal experts to allow the change from Annual Leave to Personal Leave. Although we recognise that for some people the results took up to 10 days to be returned, the decision on converting Annual Leave to Personal Leave is a company based one. Should the business decide to allow this for one person, it should be done consistently both now and going forward.
  • Depending on the payroll system, employers should be able to update the leave balances by adjusting start and finish dates. For some employees it may mean that the employee has two separate periods of Annual Leave with a period of Personal Leave in between.

A reminder that employees who do not have Personal Leave owing to them, often our casuals or new employees, can access financial assistance through the extended Covid Leave payments. Employees need to apply for this payment individually through their MyGov portal.

If you have any questions, please reach out for assistance on ph.1300 474 672 or email

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