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Can my employer refuse to pay out my annual leave?

Lucy Dean
Image: Getty
Image: Getty

It’s been a hellish week for Buzzfeed employees after the media company announced a massive restructuring.

But for some US employees, it was made even worse by Buzzfeed’s decision not to pay out their accrued annual leave unless it was legally required in their state.

The viral content giant relented after scores of employees signed a letter condemning its decisions.

However it raised the question: are employers in Australia legally obliged to pay out workers’ annual leave entitlements?

The good news is the answer is cut and dry: yes.

“When employment ends, an employee has to be paid out all unused annual leave as part of their final pay,” a spokesperson from the Fair Work Ombudsman told Yahoo Finance.

“If an employee gets annual leave loading during employment then it also has to be paid out when employment ends.”

And most employees are entitled to it, except for casual workers.

According to Roy Morgan Research, Australian workers have 133,737,000 days of accrued leave, or an average 16 days of accrued leave per worker.

We’re one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to making the most of our leave entitlements, Expedia’s latest “Vacation Deprivation” report found, after Japan and Italy.

You know what this means? It’s time for a holiday.

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