A family member of one of our employees was taken ill and not expected to live. The employee travelled interstate for a week to see him. He passed away while she was there, and she stayed to attend his funeral. Is she entitled to 2 days’ compassionate leave for the whole event? Or 2 days for when the family member took ill and 2 days for when he died?
Under the National Employment Standards (NES), employees are entitled to 2 days of compassionate leave for each occasion where an immediate family or household member:
- contracts or develops a personal illness that poses a serious threat to their life;
- sustains a personal injury that poses a serious threat to their life; or
- passes away.
In the scenario you have outlined, the sudden onset of illness and the subsequent death of the employee’s grandfather would be treated as two separate events, each entitling the employee to 2 days of compassionate leave.
Therefore, the employee is entitled to 4 days of compassionate leave. Keep in mind also that an applicable modern award or enterprise agreement may provide for an improved entitlement to compassionate leave than that outlined in the NES.