By Kelly Godfrey
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NSW Parliament has passed temporary amendments to the Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW), which will operate from 25 March 2020 to 25 September 2020.
These amendments allow:
- long service leave to be taken in periods smaller than 1 month (e.g. employees can take single days as long service leave);
- employees and employers to agree to the taking of long service leave on short notice;
- employers and employees to agree to an employee taking long service leave in advance (if an employee’s employment is terminated before they achieve 10 years’ continuous service, the money paid for long service leave taken in advance may be recouped by the employer from any payments due on termination of employment);
- employers and employees to agree to postpone the taking of long service leave (however, the rate of the taking of that leave will be the rate on the date the postponement was agreed regardless of whether the employee is earning a higher or lower amount of pay at that later time); and
- employees who are stood down between 11 March 2020 and 12 September 2020 as a result of COVID-19 to continue to accrue long service leave.
Employees who are receiving JobKeeper cannot be compelled to use their long service leave simply because they are receiving JobKeeper payments. An employer can give an employee 1 month’s notice to use their long service leave, but the employee can agree to shorten this period.
If an employee is receiving JobKeeper and agrees to take their long service leave, they must be paid their ordinary remuneration when they are on long service leave or the average of the last 5 years, whichever is greater.