Virgin Australia's Proposed Changes to Annual Leave: A Concern for Worker's Rights

Virgin Australia has recently proposed changes to the annual leave process, introducing a new system known as Annual Leave Bidding. While this initiative may seem promising at first glance, it is crucial to examine the details closely to understand its potential implications for your rights as an employee.

The ASU has already defended your working rights when Virgin Australia proposed changes in its first draft process that breached your Enterprise Agreement. While some adjustments have been made, we still have concerns.

Here's a breakdown of what Virgin Australia is proposing and what it could mean for you:

  1. Ballot Process: Virgin Australia is suggesting a ballot process where team members compete for when they wish to take annual leave during a specified period (referred to as the Ballot Year). This means that you bid for your desired leave slots, with approvals based on the bidding process.

  2. Misleading Statements: Virgin Australia has indicated that it expects you to use your full annual leave entitlement each year. However, it's important to clarify this is not your legal obligation. You can only be directed to take leave if you have accumulated excess leave, typically exceeding five weeks. You have the right to accrue leave and are not obligated to take it until it reaches excess levels, and even at that point, Virgin Australia must follow the Enterprise Agreement.

  3. Leave you didn’t want: Under the proposed changes, once your leave is approved, you will not be able to cancel it—a departure from the current practice where cancellations are permissible with a valid reason. There's a possibility of you being allocated a leave slot that you didn't apply for, which means annual leave is wasted and not used for occasions that are important to you. The proposed changes only permit you to swap your leave blocks; it is already difficult enough to swiftly swap for work, let alone shift-swapping annual leave. This is a breach of your rights; under the Fair Work Act, paid annual leave must be taken at a time agreed between you and Virgin Australia, unless it is excess leave.

  4. Abandoning the Christmas process: Abandoning the current Christmas process could lead to disparities in leave allocation, favouring employees with higher leave balances and typically longer-serving staff. This will disadvantage newer employees and those with smaller balances. The current process cycles through a three-year period, giving priority to employees who have longer leave balances but haven’t taken a year in the last year. Under the current proposal, if an employee applies for five weeks' leave over Christmas every year, they will always be given priority.

  5. Lack of Clarity in Ad Hoc Processes: While Virgin Australia has indicated that the current ad hoc system will continue alongside the proposed changes, there is a lack of clarity on how this will function. Understanding how ad hoc leave requests will be managed is essential to ensuring fairness and transparency.

Your voice matters, and it's essential to raise any concerns or questions you may have regarding the proposed annual leave process.

If you know someone who has not yet joined the ASU, please encourage them to unite with union members nationwide by visiting

If you require any support or additional information, please contact your local ASU delegates or ASU organiser at:

Jessica Daniels
0487 777 396
TSU Organiser

Above: The ASU is the union fighting for workers at Virgin Australia.