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Long Service Leave | Know Your Long Service Leave Entitlements

Employees are entitled to long service leave after an extended period of service with an employer. In some states and territories, you may also be entitled to long service leave even if you change employers or are a casual worker.

This entitlement forms part of the National Employment Standards (NES). There is no uniform standard for long service leave in Australia yet. Each state and territory have different standards for:

  • How long you need to work to get long service leave; and
  • How much long service leave you will get.

Your long service leave entitlement depends on the state and territory laws where you are employed, or on your award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement. Depending on your entitlements, you may be able to:

  • Access long service leave after a period of continuous service of 7-15 years
  • Request a period of long service leave for twice as long, at half your ordinary pay rate
  • Access part of your long service leave at different points instead of all at once;
  • Be paid out pro-rata long service leave when your employment comes to an end after a period of continuous service of 5 – 7 years

In most cases, the employee and employer must agree in writing when the leave will be taken and for how long.

You can contact your union for advice on your long service entitlements. Or contact the long service leave agency in your state or territory to check your entitlements:

  • ACT – Access Canberra
  • NSW – NSW Industrial Relations
  • NT – NT Government
  • QLD – Queensland Industrial Relations
  • SA – SafeWork SA
  • TAS – WorkSafe Tasmania
  • VIC – Business Victoria
  • WA – Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

Pre-modern Awards and Long Service Leave

A pre-modern award is any employment award that existed before 1 January 2010. State and territory long service entitlements do not apply if your employment is under a pre-modern award.

Federal pre-modern awards will include long service leave entitlements, including how long an employee needs to work to get the leave and how much they will get.

To find your long service leave entitlements under a pre-modern award, you can search the Fair Work Commission Award database.

In some instances, a pre-modern award might not apply if another agreement is in place, such as an enterprise agreement or other registered agreement.

Your union can give you advice on your long service leave entitlements.

Funding for this factsheet was provided by:

  • the Victorian Government as part of the uTech project; and
  • the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Please note that the information given here is general information only and is not legal advice. For further assistance, it is recommended you speak to your union.

Pro-rata Long Service Leave

If your employment ends before you have completed the total number of years needed to obtain full long service leave entitlements, you may be entitled to be paid out a portion of your long service leave. This is referred to as pro-rata long service leave and is dependent on each state’s employment laws.

You may be entitled to payment of pro-rata long service leave when your employment ends, if you have worked more than five years or more than seven years, but less than 10 depending on where you are employed and the circumstances that led to your employment coming to an end.

Whether you are entitled to be paid out pro-rata long service leave when your employment ends depends on the long service laws in the state or territory where you work. It is best to talk to your union to ensure you properly understand your long service leave entitlements.

Applying for Long Service Leave in Australia

Although in Australia long service leave entitlements vary between states, the act of applying for leave is quite standard.

For example, each state requires employees to provide their employer with notice in writing. Applying for long service leave involves submitting a written request to the employer at least 4 weeks in advance.

The request should include the dates that you intend to take off work. Once your employer has received your request, they must approve or deny the leave in writing. If your leave is approved, your employer will provide you with a confirmation of the dates of your leave.

If you want to cancel or change long service leave that has already been approved, you will need to get approval from your employer so that they can ensure that there are enough staff members available to meet the business’ needs at that time. Long service leave is a great way for employees to take an extended break from work. It can be used to travel, spend time with family, or simply relax and recharge.

Long Service Leave in Australia – Frequently Asked Questions

How do you calculate long service leave in SA?

Long service leave is a period of time that you can take off work, with pay. You’ll be eligible for 13 weeks’ paid leave after 10 years continuous service with your current employer. You will then continue to accrue long service leave at the rate of 1.3 weeks’ leave for each subsequent year of service after that.

Can casual employees get entitlements for long service leave in NSW?

Yes, in New South Wales, the Long Service Leave Act 1955 provides leave entitlements to permanent full-time, part-time, casual and seasonal employees. If you have worked for the same employer for over 10 years, you can claim two months (8.67 weeks) of paid long service leave.  You will then be entitled to take a further 1 month’s paid long service leave after every subsequent 5 years’ work with that employer.

The Long Service Leave Act 1955 also allows for payment of pro-rata long service leave when your employment comes to an end after five years, if your resign due to illness, incapacity, or domestic or other pressing necessity, or if you are fired for any reason except for serious and wilful misconduct.

Your estate is also entitled to be paid your accrued long service leave if you pass away while you are still employed and you have been working in your job for at least 5 years,

Special long service leave conditions may apply to casual workers in the building and construction industry and to cleaning contractors.

Who is eligible for long service leave in NSW?

Full-time, part-time and casual employees are entitled to long service leave in NSW. If you’ve worked for the same employer for 10 years, you’re entitled to two months (8.6 weeks) of paid leave.  You will then be entitled to take a further 1 month’s paid long service leave after every subsequent 5 years’ work with that employer.

You are entitled to receive your ordinary gross wage during this period. Your pay should be made at the standard rate and frequency, and your employer will need to pay super on this amount.

When are you entitled to long service leave in NSW?

In Australia, long service leave is an entitlement for employees who have worked for the same employer for a lengthy period of time to take a period of paid leave. After 10 years of continuous employment, workers are eligible to take an extended leave of absence from work – typically two or three months depending on which state or territory you live and work in. This leave can be taken all at once, or in stages over a period of years.

Long service leave is a great way for employees to enjoy a well-earned break, and recharge their batteries for a return to work. It can also be used as an opportunity to take care of personal matters or travel.

What are the conditions for long service leave in NSW?

To be entitled to long service leave in NSW, you must:

  • have worked continuously for your employer for at least 10 years
  • have not taken more than 12 months’ leave in total during that 10-year period
  • have not taken more than 90 days’ leave in any one year during that 10-year period

If you meet these conditions, you are entitled to two months’ (8.67 weeks’) long service leave after 10 years’ continuous service. You will then be entitled to take a further 1 month’s paid long service leave after every subsequent 5 years’ work with that employer.

Do you get paid long service leave in NSW if you resign?

If you resign from your job, then when your job ends you may not be entitled to be paid out your accrued long service leave in NSW, depending on how long you were employed for and the reason you resigned.

After 5 years, but less than 10 years’ continuous service, you are entitled to be paid pro-rata long service leave if you resign due to illness, incapacity, or domestic or other pressing necessity.

After 10 years, regardless of the reason for your employment ending, you are entitled to be paid your accrued but untaken long service leave (on the basis of two months’ leave for 10 years service).

How much long service leave do you get in NSW?

In NSW, under the Long Service Leave Act 1955 employees are entitled to two months (8.67 weeks) of paid long service leave after 10 years’ continuous service with the one employer.  You will then be entitled to take a further 1 month’s paid long service leave after every subsequent 5 years’ service with that employer.

Can long service leave be cashed out?

Long service leave cannot be cashed out in NSW or Victoria, the ACT, South Australia or the Northern Territory,   Long service leave can be cashed out in some limited circumstances in Queensland and in Western Australia.

Do you get pro-rata long service leave in NSW after seven years?

No, in NSW you are actually entitled to payment of pro-rata long service leave upon the termination of your employment after working for your employer for five years in the following circumstances:

  • if you resign due to illness, incapacity, or domestic or other pressing necessity;
  • if you are fired for any reason except for serious and wilful misconduct; or
  • Upon your death.

Can you take long service leave after seven years in WA?

Under the Long Service Leave Act 1958 (WA) you are entitled to be paid out your long service leave upon the termination of your employment when you have had at least 7 years but less than 10 years continuous service with your employer, if your employment is terminated in any circumstances other than by your employer for serious misconduct.

How much long service leave do you get after 10 years?

Australian long service leave is an entitlement that employees accrue over time. With the exception of Victoria and the ACT, where employees are entitled to long service leave after 7 years’ service, in all other states and territories of Australia, employees become entitled to take long service leave after 10 years’ continuous service.  After 10 years continuous service employees can take 2 months’ ( or 8.6667 weeks) leave except in the Northern Territory where they can take 3 months (or 13 weeks’) leave.

How long is long service leave in WA?

Long service leave in WA is available to employees who have worked for the same employer for at least 10 years. Under the Long Service Leave Act 1958 (WA) if you have completed at least 10 years of continuous employment, you will be entitled to two months (8.67 weeks) of long service leave.  You will then be entitled to take a further 1 month’s paid long service leave after every subsequent 5 years’ service with that employer. 

How is long service leave payout calculated?

Long service leave is typically calculated based on the length of service and an employee’s ordinary pay rate. The formula for calculating long service leave entitlements can vary from state to state and will depend on the applicable legislation, so it’s important to check with your local authority.

It’s important to note that long service leave entitlements can vary depending on the type of contract an employee is employed under. For example, employees who are employed on a casual basis may not be entitled to long service leave or may only be entitled to pro-rata long service leave after 10 years of continuous employment.

Is Australia the only country with long service leave?

No, Australia is not the only country with long service leave entitlements. Long service leave is a workplace entitlement in a number of countries, including New Zealand, Canada and several European nations. However, the entitlement and associated conditions varies between jurisdictions.

How does long service leave accrue after 10 years?

The formula for calculating long service leave entitlements after an employee has had 10 years’ continuous service can vary from state to state and will depend on the applicable legislation.

However, in general after an employee first becomes entitled to take long service leave (after 7 or 10 years’ continuous service, depending where they live and work) they will then continue to accrue and become entitled to take additional long service leave.  In some states long service leave accrues continuously after 10 years’ service and can be taken as it becomes available.  In other states long service leave only accrues every 5 years thereafter.

It is important to check the entitlements where you live and work with your local authority.

How does long service leave pro-rata work?

Pro rata long service leave refers to the long service leave an employee may accrue before they become entitled to take the leave.  In some circumstances employees are entitled to payment of their pro-rata long service leave when their employment ends, even if they had not yet become entitled to actually take the leave.

The amount of long service leave you are entitled to is calculated based on the number of years you have worked for your employer.  Where you have worked less than the number of years required by the legislation in your state or territory before you become entitled to take long service leave, your pro-rata long service leave is calculated based on the lesser number of years of continuous service, but in the same proportion.  Your pro-rata entitlement will be the proportion of long service leave you would have been entitled to. For example, if you have worked for your employer for 8 years, your pro-rata long service leave will be 80% of the long service leave that you would be entitled to if you had worked for the company for 10 years.

How do I apply for long service leave?

To apply for long service leave, you will need to submit a written request to your employer. In some cases, your employer may require you to give them notice of your intention to take long service leave at least four weeks in advance.

Once your employer has received your request, they will assess whether you are eligible for long service leave and how much leave you are entitled to. If you are eligible, your employer will approve your request and provide you with information on how to proceed with booking your leave. If you have any questions about applying for long service leave, you should speak to your employer or union.

Do you accrue long service leave while on annual leave?

The answer is yes. You do accrue long service leave while on sick leave. This is because sick leave is considered part of your continuous service.

Can you take long service leave while on maternity leave?

Yes, you can take long service leave while on maternity leave. The two types of leave are separate, and you are entitled to take each type of leave at different times. You should check with your employer about their policies on taking long service leave while on maternity leave.

What is the best way to take long service leave?

There are a few things to consider when deciding how to take your long service leave. You need to think about how much leave you have accrued, whether you want to take the leave all at once or broken up into periods, and whether you want to be paid out for your leave or not.

If you have accrued a lot of long service leave, you may want to consider taking an extended break from work. This could involve taking several months off at once, or taking a few weeks off every now and then over a period of time. If you decide to take your long service leave all at once, you will need to be paid out for it.

If you only have a small amount of long service leave, you may want to consider taking it in periods. This could involve taking a week or two off every now and then, or taking a couple of months off every year. If you decide to take your long service leave in periods, you do not need to be paid out for it.

Do you get super on long service leave?

Long service leave is counted as ordinary time earnings for superannuation purposes, which means that employers must pay superannuation on long service leave.

Can you take extended long service leave with half pay?

If you have become entitled to take long service leave, it is still possible for your employer to refuse your request to take long service leaveon reasonable business grounds. Some examples of when an employer may refuse a long service leave request include:

  • If you taking the leave would put an undue financial strain on the company.
  • If there are not enough staff to cover your absence.
  • If you are otherwise required for the legitimate needs of the business, at the time you propose to take leave.

If your employer refuses your request, they should discuss their reasons with you and try to come to an agreement on an alternate time for you to take your leave. If no agreement can be reached, you may lodge a complaint with the Fair Work Commission or speak to your union.

What are my rights if my employer tries to force me to take long service leave?

It depends on the state or territory in which you live and work.  In most states employers can require their employees to take leave by giving them written notice.  The period of written notice varies from state to state.

Seeking more information on long service leave and your legal rights in Australia? Talk to our team at Australian Unions about long service leave entitlements or join your union today.

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