I haven't used even half of my sick leave allowance for the year. My manager knew I wasn't sick and had some commitments for that particular day (a Tuesday not falling after or behind a public holiday). After I handed a sick leave form, my manager asked me to change the entry to be an annual leave because I wasn't sick. We have 10 sick leave days in a year here in Australia as far as I know and it's my legal right to take it.

A bit more than a year ago they had a written general warning for all employees indicating not to take all of their 10 sick leaves and started a tracking policy over every employee. When they take 10 sick leave days that started to be mentioned during performance reviews.

Can you guys please enlighten me what are my rights on this? Should I bite the bullet and sign an annual leave form for that day?

  • 9
    You should take your annual leave, because that's what you're doing: annual leave, not sick leave. Anything else may be grounds for termination - both for you, and any manager that agrees to lie about it.
    – user53718
    Aug 26 '16 at 2:21
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    Sick leave entitles you to be paid for time you are sick. It does not entitle you to extra days off when you are not sick. Aug 26 '16 at 4:09
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    I'm Australian, and yes you can take sick leave, but many companies will require a doctor's certificate if you do. If they know you aren't actually sick or taking carer's leave (for sick kids, for example), then your employer has the right to request you take annual leave instead.
    – Jane S
    Aug 26 '16 at 11:17
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    Sick days are not leave days. If you've only been sick for 2 days in a year and have 8 days "left", do you expect to just use them as holidays? That's not how the world works..
    – cbll
    Aug 26 '16 at 13:23
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    Re the down-votes: as one of the OP's comments suggests, this is about culture as much as it is about legalities. I am voting it up.
    – Resigned
    Aug 26 '16 at 16:01

As a team leader in Australia - chucking a sickie is certainly not something everyone is cool with down under. Your employer can insist on a doctor's certificate for even one day when applied for. Chucking sickies does happen - but most people who do throw a sickie don't let their boss know about it

The fact you have accrued sick leave us good for you. If you are injured or unable to work from illness for an extended period you will get paid until sick leave is exhausted.

Under fair work, and standard awards, and probably your company policy, your boss has done exactly what he can and offer you too take the day as paid annual leave. If you don't apply for that, then your business can and likely will force unpaid leave.


If you were not sick, you don't really have a leg to stand on. If you don't have enough sick leave, then the annual leave is a generous allowance by the employer.

If you were sick, then employers can at their discretion, allow you to use your paid sick leave entitlement even if you haven't accrued it yet, but otherwise there's no obligation for them to allow you to take paid sick leave you haven't accrued.