Index to Fact Sheets
Updated 24 June 2020



Telstra has pressed staff to take more leave. The motive is profits. Leave is a liability on the balance sheet, and is accounted for in the profit and loss statements.
As leave accumulates, it adds to the loss for the year.
If leave amounts decrease, then it adds to the profit in the annual results.

Accumulation of leave is not desirable as the bonus payments to the CEO and senior managers are affected.

We can understand that if you face being terminated from Telstra in the next round of redundancies, that you do not believe in a "social compact" or a "team spirit". There will be another (alleged) shut down this Xmas - and you may be forced to take more leave. There are rumours that it will be more than 2 weeks!

Below (in response to a number of members who do not want to take more leave) we summarize the situation as we see it.


The Telstra EBA was certified on 19 June 2020. See the full Telstra EBA19.


The EBA provision did not change with the new EBA19. It states: Taking annual leave

    a) You must agree with your manager when you will take annual leave. Your manager will act reasonably when trying to accommodate requests, having regard to Telstra's business requirements.

    b) Telstra may direct you to take leave if it's reasonable to do so. Examples of when Telstra might do this include:
    i) if Telstra is shutting down all or part of the business for a period, such as over Christmas or New Year;
    ii) if you have accrued more than 6 weeks of annual leave (7 weeks for continuous shift workers)-though Telstra won't leave you with less than 4 weeks of accrued annual leave if Telstra does this (or 5 weeks if you are a continuous shift worker).


There are four important matters to note:

  • 1. Telstra must act reasonably
  • 2. This can be triggered by a shut down
  • 3. Excessive leave is more than 6 weeks
  • 4. You must be left with at least 4 weeks
Telstra has been pressing staff to take leave to help their profits. But they cannot force you to take leave outside these parameters.


If pressured by management or told that it is a requirement that you take leave:

  • write down immediately what was said
  • Keep any emails
  • See if there is a witness and note their names
  • Keep the information for a rainy day
  • If you need advice, report it to us.

    It is a breach of the Fair Work Act to knowingly make a misleading statement or to coerce a person to take or not take a workplace right.


    Nine day workers are still being asked to take 10 days. a reminder of the telstra hr (Melbourne) clarification. some gung-ho supervisors are still demanding 10 days from 9 day workers: telstra said:

      8/9 day fortnight and 12 hour shift: I acknowledge that we need to be clear on this point so I will be updating the company faq's shortly to reflect that:
      - 9 day fortnight employees will only need to take 9 days leave over the 2 weeks between now and September.


    May 20: According to a pie chart circulated in nsw, only 21% of staff booked the 10 days annual leave before September.


    If you are asked or directed to take leave outside these parameters, we are here to assist. See below for contact details.


    We have had a number of exchanges with telstra as local team leaders push the envelope. The email exchanges below show how cautious the HQ hr are as they do not support the local managers! Telstra agrees that it is voluntary.

    However telstra appeals to you to help their profits. What is clear is that local team leaders are being pressured to force the issue.


      We refer to the campaign by telstra to get staff to take 10 days leave by September. here we go again. the pressure is on again with a "requirement" to take leave. this is just an example as we have other complaints. as we have discussed there is no requirement to take leave except as provided by law - in the case of a shut down or where there is excessive leave.

      This is not the case here. there is a significant mismatch between what hr tells us - and what happens in the field.

      Let me be clear - we do not oppose telstra making a simple request to take leave. it is the tactics that we complain of.

      Re the emails below: the clear threat. "i know that xxx will be circling back by the end of the week to unsure (sic) that this requirement has been met" (emphasis added)

      In the group email, xxx named persons who needed to meet the requirement. therefore the pressure raises legitimate issues of breaches of the fair work act - where penalties apply telstra and individual managers (knowingly concerned and directly involved) may be found to be breaching some provisions of the act, particularly as telstra was put on notice some time ago.

        s343 - Coercion
        (1) a person must not organise or take, or threaten to organise or take, any action against another person with intent to coerce the other person, or a third person, to:
        (a) exercise or not exercise, or propose to exercise or not exercise, a workplace right; or
        (b) exercise, or propose to exercise, a workplace right in a particular way.

        s345 Misrepresentations
        (1) a person must not knowingly or recklessly make a false or misleading representation about:
        (a) the workplace rights of another person; or
        (b) the exercise, or the effect of the exercise, of a workplace right by another person.

      It is false to say or imply that it is a "requirement" to take leave. the response is demanded by today - 29 April 20

      We require that telstra (and others) withdraw the emails to staff and apologize for their overreach.

      We also require that other coercion, either by way of verbal messages (eg the (higher up) manager will speak to you if you don't) or email be withdrawn.

      We further require that all staff be advised that if they felt pressured to book leave, that they should feel free to cancel the booked leave.


    Telstra responded to the email with carefully chosen words:

      As we have discussed previously in my email of 8th April 2020 Telstra has been upfront with our employees that we need to take reasonable steps to manage our costs and reduce unnecessary demand on our services during these challenging times. The expectation is that all permanent employees take 2 weeks leave between now and September (inclusive of the Easter Shutdown). In that same email I responded to a number of questions that you raised and my answers still stand, specifically for the purposes of this email my response our 8/9 day fortnight and 12 hour shift employees remains unchanged.

      That being said I have investigated the issue you raised on Wednesday (29th April). I have been advised that the email you referenced from Wayne Lee was directed to his leadership team. The purpose of this email was to prepare for a follow up meeting (subsequently held on Wednesday the 29th) with the whole team where a number of items were clarified and talked through, this was the reason for his general statement of `10 days leave' rather than listing specific details.

      Furthermore any inconsistent messaging and misunderstandings arising from Nelson Leclair's email was comprehensively addressed in the Wednesday meeting (presumably at or around the time you emailed me your concerns). Additionally I have been advised that Wayne and the team have already discussed and dealt with a number of individual concerns/exemptions.

      I encourage you to reach out to your members and confirm their latest understanding following the Wednesday team meeting. As always I am happy to address any individual employee concerns should you wish to raise them with me.

    Please note the following changes as we simplify our phone numbers
    0428 942 878 dan.dwyer@cwunion.net Dan Dwyer Secretary/Lawyer - for industrial matters & advice
    0447 365 433 reception@cwunion.net Administrative eg payments, applications, change of details

    Authorised by Dan Dwyer Branch Secretary
    CWU Telecommunications & Services Branch, Sydney City, NSW.

  • Home

    Index to Fact Sheets

    Bulletin Index