Millions of Australian workers now have the ability to “cash out” their excess annual leave under new rules which came into effect this week.

Provided employees still have four weeks annual leave remaining, they’re able to swap up to two weeks excess leave for cash instead. Employers can’t force or pressure an employee to cash out annual leave, and the payment must equal the same amount they would have received if they had taken the leave instead. A written agreement must be completed each time annual leave is cashed out.

A new clause has been added to nearly all 122 modern workplace awards in effect in Australia.

Many employees covered by enterprise agreements are already able to cash out portions of their annual leave, and this change sees Award employees have the same rights.

The changes are already in place, taking effect from the first pay period on or after 29 July 2016.

More information including a list of awards affected can be found here