Religious and Cultural Observance – Guidelines

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These guidelines are intended to assist the University to maintain a working environment which enables staff members to observe and attend to religious and/or cultural activities/duties.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Enterprise Agreement - The University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2014 – 2017

3. Guidelines Scope/Coverage

These guidelines apply to all continuing, research (contingent funded), fixed-term and casual staff members covered by the Enterprise Agreement.

4. Guidelines Statement

Many religions, faiths and cultures observe occasions of spiritual or cultural significance. There may also be occasions where staff request to observe occasions of spiritual or cultural significance which are not pre-planned and can occur at short notice. Supervisors of staff should be mindful of their obligations with respect to the prevention of discrimination contained in relevant state and commonwealth legislation referred to in the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment - Policy.

The University is committed to promoting equity and diversity and to maintaining an environment which, wherever possible, facilitates reasonable staff participation in religious or cultural duties/activities.

5. Accessing Leave Entitlements

5.1 Existing leave accruals

A staff member may request to use existing Recreation Leave, Long Service Leave and, if appropriate Carer’s Leave entitlements for the purpose of attending to religious or cultural duties/activities associated with a particular religion, faith or culture.

Eligible staff members should follow the normal leave application process by making the request for leave to the Authorised Officer in accordance with the provisions of the Leave Entitlements Policy and relevant leave procedure.

A staff member should make the leave request as far in advance as reasonably practicable taking into account the circumstances surrounding the request and the requirements of the applicable leave procedure.

When a staff member’s request for leave for the purpose of attending to religious or cultural duties/activities is made at short notice due to extenuating circumstances, the leave request should not be unreasonably refused. In this circumstance the Authorised Officer may request the staff member to provide details of the essential nature of the religious or cultural duties to which the staff member must attend.

5.2 Special Leave

If a staff member has no leave entitlements accrued, the staff member may make an application for Special Leave in accordance with the Special Leave Procedures.

In accordance with the Leave Entitlements Policy, a staff member will be entitled to be released from duty on full pay to attend National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) celebrations subject to approval and operational requirements.

Director, Human Resources
Ms Jane Banney