Home - What you need to know about taking long service leave

UpdatesMar 16, 2015

What you need to know about taking long service leave

Long service leave is paid leave available to employees who have worked continuously for the same employer over a long period of time.

4 mins read

Long service leave is paid leave available to employees who have worked continuously for the same employer over a long period of time.

How many years of continuous service an employee must have served with you in order to access the entitlement depends on your jurisdiction. In all jurisdictions except the ACT, an employee must have served 10 years of continuous service; in the ACT, they must have served 7 years’ service. In some circumstances, employees are entitled to a pro-rata long service leave payment after a shorter period of time – again, this will depend on your jurisdiction.

In general terms, an employee can take long service leave as soon as practicable after they have met the minimum period of continuous service, by agreement with you and taking into consideration the needs of your business (the exact wording differs slightly in each jurisdiction’s legislation).

These are the basics of long service leave, but it can be a confusing entitlement that raises a lot of questions.

In today’s bulletin, Charles Power answers some common questions about exactly when and how long service leave can be taken.

Answers to 3 common long service leave questions

Can you choose when an employee takes their long service leave?

You may wish to direct an employee to take long service leave at a certain time, but whether or not you can do so will depend on your jurisdiction:

Can an employee take long service leave over, say, one day per week?

No. Long service leave must be taken as either a continuous period or in smaller blocks, usually by agreement between you and the employee. For example, the WA Long Service Leave Act 1958 allows employees to take long service leave in separate periods of not less than 1 week (by agreement) and the NT Long Service Leave Act 1981 allows for the leave to be taken in up to three separate periods of not less than 4 weeks. On the other hand, SA employees must take their long service leave in one continuous period.

Can you pay an employee’s long service leave entitlement without them actually taking the leave?

Legislation in some jurisdictions allows for alternative long service leave arrangements, such as:

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