Magistrate Orders Payment for Prison Officer’s Denied Sick Leave

Mr Paterson, a prison officer with over 11 years of service, faced a dispute with the respondent regarding his application for three days of personal (sick) leave. The dispute arose when the respondent initially rejected both personal (sick) leave and personal (carer's) leave claims, although the latter was later accepted upon review. The applicant, representing Mr Paterson,  alleged a breach of cl 71.1 of the Department of Justice Prison Officers Industrial Agreement 2020, asserting that the respondent, through its superintendent, breached the agreement by refusing to accept Mr Paterson’s evidence, which met the minimum requirements.

The applicant contended that the respondent’s refusal to grant personal (sick) leave breached either the Department of Justice Prison Officers Industrial Agreement 2020 or the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 (WA). The respondent denied any contravention, arguing that the MCE Act did not apply to prison officers’ personal leave and that the superintendent’s discretion was exercised correctly.

Industrial Magistrate Kucera concluded that Mr Paterson's request for personal (sick) leave was reasonable and legitimate, and the department's refusal constituted a breach of cl 71.1 of the Agreement. Industrial Magistrate Kucera found that the respondent breached cl 71.1 of the Agreement when it refused to accept Mr Paterson’s request to take personal (sick) leave for three shifts. Industrial Magistrate Kucera made an order under s 83(1) of the IR Act requiring the respondent pay Mr Paterson three days of personal leave for the three dates specified dates.

The decision can be read here.