One of our employees has said he needs a week’s stress leave. While I understand stress leave is given, is there a limit to how long he is allowed to have?
Also, what documentation does he have to produce?
Technically speaking, there is no such thing as ‘stress leave’.
If the employee is unable to fulfill their duties due to stress, they may take personal leave. If the employee has accrued personal/carers leave, they can take this as paid personal leave, subject to complying with the notice and evidence requirements in the Fair Work Act (2009). Personal leave is paid at the base rate of pay for the ordinary hours of work in the period.
If they do not have accrued personal/carer’s leave and are still unable to work, they can take unpaid personal leave, on a discretionary basis.
The employee may also seek to make a workers’ compensation claim if the stress arises from their employment.
You would be required to comply with the obligations on employers under the relevant workers’ compensation scheme in your State/territory. If the employee’s claim is accepted, this would include making payments to them while they are unable to return to work.
Employers should be cautious in dismissing or otherwise subjecting employees to detrimental treatment in these circumstances as it may expose them to a claim under the general protections scheme of the Fair Work Act.