Long Service Leave.

On this page

Protect Your Business

Request a Consultation with One of Our Advisers Today!

Beach Long Service Leave Entitlements

Long Service Leave

You may have employees working for your business that have worked with you for a long period of time. Depending on where your business operates, these employees are entitled to certain things, one of them being long service leave. So, it is important as an employer that you’re both aware and able to deliver on these entitlements.

An employee gets long service leave after a long period of working for the same employer. 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 has to be working to get long service leave (e.g. 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.

What is Long Service Leave?

For most employees in Australia, if they have been working for the same employer for an extended period of time, they are entitled to long service leave. But the entitlement is different for each state and territory. So, depending on where they have been working, long service leave entitlements could vary. There are two key aspects to each region’s definition of long service leave. They are:

  • How long an employee has to be working to qualify
  • How much leave the employee receives

Long Service Leave Payment

Just like other forms of leave, long service leave also entitles employees to payment during their term of leave. But how much an employee is entitled to be paid during long service leave is dependent on the state or territory in which they are employed. In most cases, the employee’s ordinary pay rate is continued through a long service leave period. It is important to note that the ordinary pay rate is the employee’s base pay rate for their usual hours of work and does not include:

Generally speaking, pay during long service leave is paid out at the employee’s normal weekly hours at the same rate of pay, with any additional benefits and payments not included. But sometimes it is not as simple first thought. An employee’s ordinary rate of pay, or the pay entitlement during long service leave, can differ depending on the specific situation. So, there are two ways of calculating the ‘ordinary pay rate’:

  • The amount of the ordinary remuneration as at the time the employee takes the leave
  • The average weekly remuneration the employee earned in the preceding years

When it comes to deciding which of the above is used for long service leave payment, it is always the greater of the two.

This differs though when an employee does not have a fixed weekly amount of pay. For instance, if the employee is paid on a commission basis or if the employee is casual and does not have a fixed number of hours they work each week. If this is the case, then long service leave payment is worked out as the greater of the two below rates:

  • The average weekly earnings over the previous 12 months
  • Their average weekly earnings over the previous five years or the entire period of employment

It is also important to remember that any unused long service leave has to be paid out at the end of employment and usually it cannot be cashed out while the employee is still working for the business.

When Does An Employee Qualify for Long Service Leave?

For an employee to qualify for long service leave, they need to have been in continuous employment with the same employer. That does not mean to say that they need to have been working in the same position though. Even if the employee’s duties, responsibilities, pay or position have changed over the extended period, they are still eligible for long service leave.

Continuous service is also achieved if the:

  • Employee is transferred between companies within the same group
  • Business is sold and the employee continues to work for the new owner running the same business

For an employee to qualify for long service leave, they need to have been in continuous employment with the same employer. That does not mean to say that they need to have been working in the same position though. Even if the employee’s duties, responsibilities, pay or position have changed over the extended period, they are still eligible for long service leave.

FREE Leave Guide Download

Understand annual leave loading to make sure you’re paying the right amount in your employee’s paycheck.

State and Territory Legislation

Generally, employee entitlement is derived from state-based legislation, unless the associated Modern Award contains an entitlement to long service leave (which most do not). Below are summaries for each state and territory, however, be advised that the information should be used as a guide only. If you are unsure, please call Employsure.

New South Wales

Employees in New South Wales are covered by the Long Service Leave Act 1955 (the Act).

Under the Act, employees are entitled to two months (8.67 weeks) of long service leave upon the completion of at least 10 years of continuous service with their employer. On top of this, for each additional five years of service after the initial 10, employees are entitled to a further month of long service leave. This month is defined to be just over four weeks in length (or more specifically, four and a third weeks).

(NOTE: On 25 March 2020, the New South Wales Government amended the state’s Long Service Leave Act to allow for greater flexibility during the outbreak of coronavirus. For more information, visit the NSW State Government website.)

Victoria

Employees in Victoria are covered by the Long Service Leave Act 2018 (the Act).

Under the Act, employees are entitled to long service leave after a minimum of 7 years’ continuous service with their employer. An employee is entitled to an amount of long service leave on ordinary pay equal to 1/60th of the period of employment or approximately 6.1 weeks after 7 years.

The Act does not apply to certain employees who are covered by federal enterprise agreements or pre-reform awards, or by other Victorian legislation that includes long service leave entitlements, e.g. the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Act 1997 administered by CoINVEST for workers in the construction industry.

Queensland

Employees in Queensland are covered by the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (the Act).

From the 3 June 2001, long service leave entitlement in Queensland is just over eight weeks (or more specifically, eight and two-third weeks) after a period of 10 years of continuous employment. Beyond ten years of continuous service, employees are entitled to an additional 4.333 weeks’ long service leave for each additional five years of continuous service.

It is important to note if you are an employer in Queensland that for employees who were engaged prior to 3 June 2001, transitional arrangements apply, which affect the time when an employee is able to take the leave.

Cashing Out Leave

If cashing out is permitted under an award or agreement that covers an employees’ employment, an employee may make an agreement with their employer to cash out all or part of their accrued long service leave entitlements. Any such agreement must be in writing and signed by the employee and the employer.

In the absence of such a provision, an application on the grounds of compassionate or financial hardship, can be made to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

Australian Capital Territory

Employees in the Australian Capital Territory are covered by the Long Service Leave Act 1976 (the Act).

Under the Act, employees are entitled to just over six weeks of leave upon completion of at least seven years of continuous service. For each subsequent year of continuous service, employees accrue a further one fifth of a month of long service leave.

Please note that the Act does not apply to Public Sector employees or employees covered by the Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Act 2009.

Western Australia

Employees in Western Australia are covered by the Long Service Leave Act 1958 (the Act). It is important to note though that The Act does not apply to employees in the building and construction industry or National system employees who have long service entitlements in a federal pre-modern award that would have covered the employer and its employees before 1 January 2010, or, in some circumstances, employees covered by a federal registered agreement.

Under the Act, employees are entitled to over eight weeks (specifically eight and two thirds) of long service leave after the completion of at least 10 years of continuous employment with their employer. On top of this, for each additional five years of continuous employment following the initial 10 years, employees are entitled to a further four and one third weeks of long service leave.

Cashing Out Leave

In some circumstances, employers and employees can agree in writing to cash out some of their long service leave for adequate benefit in lieu.

Northern Territory

Employees in the Northern Territory are covered by the Long Services Leave Act 1976 (the Act).

Under the Act, employees are entitled to 13 weeks of long service leave upon completion of at least 10 years of continuous employment with their employer. On top of this, they are entitled to an extra week of long service leave for each additional five years of service following the initial 10 years.

South Australia

Employees in South Australia are covered by the Long Service Leave Act 1987 (the Act).

It is important to note that The Act does not apply to Public Sector employees or employees covered by the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Act 1987 or the Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Act 2009.

Under the Act, employees are entitled to 13 weeks of long service leave upon the completion of at least 10 years of continuous employment with their employer. On top of this, they are entitled to an additional one and a third week of long service leave for each year of service after the initial 10 years.

Cashing Out Leave

By agreement between an employer and an employee, an employee (with at least ten years continuous service) can cash out all or part of their entitlement to long service leave. This agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.

Tasmania

Employees in Tasmania are covered by the Long Service Leave Act 1976 (the Act). However, if you are an employer in the mining industry, please note that separate provisions under this Act apply to construction industry or Public Sector employees.

Under the Act, employees are entitled to eight and two thirds weeks of long service leave upon the completion of at least 10 years of continuous employment with their employer. On top of this, they are entitled to four and one third weeks for each additional five years of service after the initial 10 years.

Cashing Out Leave

By agreement between an employer and an employee, an employee (with at least ten years continuous service) can cash out all or part of their entitlement to long service leave. This agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.

Portable Long Service Leave

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.

To find out about long service leave entitlements in your state or territory, contact Employsure today.

Get Workplace Advice Now

Call our team now for some free, initial advice on Long Service Leave or any workplace relations topic.

Have a question?

Have a question that hasn’t been answered? Fill in the form below and one of our experts will contact you back.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call Now

1300 207 182

Live Chat

Click here