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What are my rights and responsibilities if I need time off because of my disability?

The law does not say exactly how much time you can take off work because of your disability. But the law does say that your employer must make reasonable adjustments for you at work. This can include changes to your working hours or your employer (your boss) letting you take time off for things like attending appointments, having operations or time to rest.

Your right to time off work for disability reasons might depend on what is a good balance between your needs and your employer’s needs. This good balance is called ‘reasonable’. As a general rule, asking for time off work is likely to be reasonable if you tell your employer early enough that they can organise anything they need while you are away. You would need to tell your employer enough information so they know why you need time off, when you need time off and how much time you need. It is good to tell your employer as soon as possible if you need time off.

If you need to take time off without knowing beforehand (for example if you have an emergency or sudden health problem), you have the same right to time off work for things like this that other employees (people at work) have.

You are usually allowed some paid time off if you work part-time or full-time. There are different names for this time off, depending on why you are taking time off. Most of the time it is called ‘personal leave’ , but people might call it things like ‘sick leave’ or ‘carer’s leave’.

You don’t usually get paid time off if you work casually. You have the right to ask for some time off without getting paid if you have used all your paid time off, or if your contract doesn’t give you paid time off.

You can read the National Employment Standards for more information about your rights to take time off.

For more information on taking time off work for disability or medical related reasons, or for help if your manager says that you cannot take time off when you think it should have been OK, you can contact AED Legal Centre, Youth Disability Advocacy Service or Disability Discrimination Legal Service.