One of the common industrial inquiries we get at WAPU HQ is in relation to a supervisor directing a police officer to provide preferred leave dates or put their annual leave into SIMR.
 
Annual leave can be one of those confusing matters given the difference between accrued and pro rata annual leave, which can stump even the most experienced officer.
 
Under the WA Police Industrial Agreement 2017, full time police officers accrue 240 hours of annual leave for each year of completed service, calculated on a calendar year basis commencing on January 1 each year.
 
Police officers stationed in the North West accrue an additional 40 hours annual leave for each year of service completed in the North West. 
 
These hours of annual leave are classified as pro-rata leave in the year it accrues and then becomes accrued leave the following year.
 
You don’t have to use your pro rata leave this year nor can you be forced to however, you can use them if you want.
 
Hypothetically, let’s say your accrued balance at January 1, 2020 was zero hours and you do not use any pro rata leave in 2020, you will have 240 hours of accrued leave at December 31, 2020, which you must use in 2021. 
 
You are required to submit next year’s (2021) preferred annual leave dates by June 30 this year (2020), utilising all the 240 hours accrued this year (2020). If you don’t submit your preferences, you cannot be assured of getting your preferred holiday dates.
 
In relation to pro rata annual leave, you cannot be forced to take this leave, but you can submit pro rata leave dates for approval. This is useful if you want to secure a specific period of time off.
 
As per accrued annual leave, if you don’t submit your preferred dates, you may not get approval for your desired leave period. 
 
In terms of policy, HR-07.02.1 Annual Leave Procedures requires police officers to enter approved leave into SIMR at least four weeks prior to the commencement of that leave. 
 
Recently, we wrote to the WA Police Force to seek some clarity in relation to police officers being directed to take pro rata annual leave in the same year it is accruing.
 
In her response, Human Resources Director Karen Roberts agreed with our view of the application of clause 29(2) of the WA Police Industrial Agreement 2017.
 
“Police officers are required to enter their dates into the annual leave roster for annual leave that is fully accrued, by June 30 each year, giving notice of the dates that the police officer prefers to commence and finish annual leave, in the year immediately following,” Mrs Robert said.
 
However, she also states that it is beneficial and reasonable for the Agency to request officers submit dates for the annual leave roster which encompass annual leave that will accrue the following year, for the purpose of planning. 
 
"This is with the understanding that the employee cannot be required to take any pro rata annual leave included in the annual leave roster. The employee would continue to have the right to carry over some or all of that year's annual leave entitlement to the next year," she said.
 
What this means is that you can enter your “preferred” pro rata leave dates into the annual leave roster and SIMR but you do not need to take those dates, in the event they do not suit your requirements. Or if you don’t intend to take pro rata annual leave, don’t put anything in. 
 
Depending on whether the leave has been entered into SIMR, there are two procedures to change or alter your accrued annual leave. 
 
Firstly, if the accrued annual leave has not been entered into SIMR, it may be changed with approval at a station or work area level.
 
Accrued annual leave which has been entered into SIMR, may only be changed or cancelled by Personnel Services.
 
This is done via email through your chain of command and must include approved alternative dates or approval to defer leave.
 
For pro rata leave, it simply needs to be cancelled at a station or work area level if it is not in SIMR or via Personnel Services if it is. No alternative dates need to be provided. 
 
 
The below table explains what your SIMR totals mean.
 
Leave Balances
 
 Accrued   Remaining leave balance carried over from last year
 Pro Rata  Total leave accrued to date this year.
Total @ Today  Annual Leave balance payable if employment is terminated (Total @ Today = Accrued + Pro Rata).
 Total @ 31/12   Balance of all leave yet to be utilised or entered into SIMR (includes leave not yet accrued this year).
 

 
If you require assistance to change approved annual leave, whether it is initiated by either the WA Police Force or yourself, please contact our Industrial Team on 9312 2155 or via admin@wapu.org.au.
 
 
By Katrina Mason, Industrial Officer