Your rights to accessing Annual Leave | AMA (WA)


Annual Leave

Your rights to accessing Annual Leave

Friday July 7, 2023

Access to annual leave has been a perennial issue and a point of frustration for many doctors working in WA’s public health system, with applications for leave being refused due to lack of available staff to cover the requested dates.

It’s important to still apply for annual leave, despite having potentially been verbally advised that your requested dates would not be available – as it may result in your employer waitlisting your chosen dates. Furthermore, it creates a trail of evidence that you’ve been refused access to this leave, which may have a bearing on future access to leave or leave management plans.

The WA Health Industrial Agreement also provides that when a practitioner makes a request to access annual leave, the employer will, within two weeks of receiving the request, advise the practitioner when dates are available to access their annual leave.

With limited exception, annual leave can only be taken by agreement between the employer and employee. However, doctors employed in WA public hospitals who have accrued annual leave for more than 12 months prior can provide their employer with two weeks minimum notice of their intention to access their annual leave, including the dates when they will be accessing it. This request cannot be refused.

The AMA (WA) is aware of common misrepresentations, including the following false statements:

  • You can only apply or access leave in week-long blocks.
  • You can only apply for annual leave during certain weeks of the year, dictated by the hospital.
  • You need to organise your own cover while on leave.
  • You need to hold yourself available to come in while on leave.

AMA (WA) members who are experiencing issues accessing leave can contact the Industrial Relations Team for support by submitting an online query, emailing or calling 08 9273 3000.

This article first appeared in the May-June edition of Medicus magazine.