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Long Service Leave

Long service leave is a national workplace entitlement that most long serving employees, including casuals, are eligible for.

Most employees' entitlement to long service leave comes from long service leave laws in each state or territory. These laws set out:

  • how long an employee must be working to get long service leave (for example, after 7 years)
  • how much long service leave the employee gets.

In some states and territories long serving casuals are eligible for long service leave.

The following is a list of the relevant state and territory long service leave legislation:

ACT – Long Service Leave Act 1976

NSW – Long Service Leave Act 1955

NT – Long Service Leave Act 1981

QLD – Industrial Relations Act 1999

SA – Long Service Leave Act 1987

TAS – Long Service Leave Act 1976

VIC – Long Service Leave Act 2018

WA – Long Service Leave Act 1958

 

Should a Federal Pre-Modern Award have covered an employer and its employee’s pre-2010, the pre-modern award will set out the entitlement based on years of service.

Employers should always review their applicable industrial instrument ie., modern award or agreement to determine if different entitlements or qualifying periods apply.

Some Australian states and territories have legislation to provide employees in the security, community services, building and construction, coal mining, and contract cleaning industries with access to portable long service leave.

This means an employee keeps their long service leave entitlement even if they work on different projects for one or more employers.

For portable long service leave in the:

  • security and community services industries in Victoria go to Portable long service
  • building and construction industry go to AusLeave
  • coal mining industry go to Coal Mining Industry LSL Funding Corporation
  • contract cleaning industry go to:
    • ACT – ACT Leave
    • NSW – New South Wales Long Service
    • Queensland – QLeave
    • Victoria – Portable long service

There are several differences from state to state and following is an overview of what each state provides as entitlements for long service leave.

Victoria

  • LSL available after 7 years continued service.
  • Unpaid parental leave up to 52 weeks will count toward the period of long service leave.
  • Paid out on termination after 7 years regardless of reason for termination.
  • Where no fixed rate or hours – the calculation includes the average of the last 12 months, last 5 years, and entire period of employment. The highest of the three is used.

New South Wales

  • Entitlement is after 10 years continuous service.
  • Unpaid parental leave will not count toward the period of long service leave.
  • Paid out on termination after 10 years.
  • Pro rata entitlement on termination between 5 and 10 years when:
  • Employee terminates due to illness, incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity;
  • Employer terminates for any reason other than serious and wilful misconduct.
  • Where no fixed rate or hours – average weekly wage earned during previous 12 months or 5 years whichever is greater.

Queensland

  • Entitlement is after 10 years continuous service.
  • Unpaid parental leave will not count toward the period of long service leave.
  • Cashing out leave is permitted after 10 years’ service.
  • Paid out on termination after 10 years regardless of reason for termination.
  • Pro rata entitlement on termination between 7 and 10 years’ service for any reason other than by the employer due to employee's conduct, capacity or performance; by the death of the employee; termination by employee due to illness or incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity — pro rata expressed in years & fraction of a year.
  • Where no fixed rate or hours – average weekly wage earned during previous 12 months.

South Australia

  • Entitlement is after 10 years continuous service.
  • Cashing out leave is permitted after 10 years’ service.
  • Unpaid parental leave will not count toward the period of long service leave.
  • Paid out on termination after 10 years regardless of reason for termination.
  • Pro rata entitlement on termination between 7 and 10 years except when service is terminated for serious and wilful misconduct or unlawfully by the employee.
  • Where no fixed rate or hours - if, in the preceding 3 years, the employee was employed on an hourly basis or the employee’s ordinary hours per week were varied, then the ordinary weekly pay for purposes of long service leave calculation will be deemed to be the average of hours worked in that 3 year period multiplied by the current hourly rate.

Western Australia

  • Entitlement is after 10 years continuous service.
  • Unpaid parental leave will not count toward the period of long service leave.
  • Pro rata entitlement on termination between 7 and 10 years except when service is terminated for serious and wilful misconduct.
  • Cashing out leave is permitted after 10 years’ service.
  • Where no fixed rate or hours – average weekly wage earned during previous 12 months. Unpaid leave is to be removed from the 365-day period.

Tasmania

  • Entitlement is after 10 years continuous service.
  • Cashing out leave is permitted after 10 years’ service.
  • Unpaid parental leave will not count toward the period of long service leave.
  • Paid out on termination after 15 years regardless of reason for termination.
  • Pro rata entitlement on termination between 7 and 15 years if:
  • Employee retires
  • Employee terminates for reasons of illness, incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity
  • Employer terminates for reasons other than serious and wilful misconduct.
  • Where no fixed rate or hours – average weekly wage earned during previous 12 months.

Northern Territory

  • Entitlement is after 10 years continuous service.
  • Unpaid parental leave will not count toward the period of long service leave.
  • Paid out on termination after 10 years except when termination for serious misconduct.
  • Pro rata entitlement on termination between 7 and 10 years if:
  • Employee retires
  • Employee terminates for reasons of illness, incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity
  • Employer terminates for reasons other than serious and wilful misconduct.
  • Where no fixed rate or hours – average weekly wage earned during previous 12 months.

Australian Capital Territory

  • LSL available after 7 years continued service.
  • Pro rata entitlement on termination between 5 and 7 years if:
  • Employee retires or dies
  • Employee terminates for reasons of illness, incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity
  • Employer terminates for reasons other than serious and wilful misconduct.
  • Where no fixed rate or hours –
  • Part time and casual employees – averaged weekly hours over previous 12 months.
  • If in previous 2 years employee changes from full time to part time or casual, ordinary pay is calculated by dividing the total amount of salary/wages earned in previous 5 years divided by 5.
  • If paid wholly or partly by commissions, the total earnings averaged over previous 12 months

 

For assistance with your long service leave obligations or any other HR matter, please contact us at [email protected] or 1300 720 004.

Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors, such as government legislation changes, may not be up to date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.

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