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Can I Get Another Job Whilst on Long Service Leave?

Can I Get Another Job Whilst on Long Service Leave?

Getting a second job whilst on long service leave may be a good way to make some extra money, but is it legal? Find out here.

18th December 2020
Reading Time: 3 minutes

What is long service leave?

Under the NSW Long Service Leave Act, employees of 10+ years must be granted 2 months paid leave. Long service leave aims to reward employees for their loyalty through providing them with the respite they deserve. This time could be seen as an opportunity to make extra money, and get on top of finances. However, this is a bit of a legal grey area, as your company may prefer you not to be working for conflict of interest or even work health and safety reasons.  

Find more information on the NSW Government Industrial Relations legislation here.

Can you get a job on long service leave?

This differs depending on state. In the Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria it is strictly forbidden. However, NSW, Queensland and the ACT’s long service leave and workplace legislation do not specifically deal with the issue. As a result, it is really dependent on the contractual terms of your employment and the secondary job you are seeking to obtain.

Legal issues may arise where there is seen to be a conflict of interests due to working for direct competitors etc., non-disclosure/confidentiality agreements or even work health and safety concerns. These will be discussed further below.

It is important to note that (in NSW, QLD and ACT) legality will also depend on the means with which you are granted the long service leave. The pre-modern federal awards in particular may not allow this. Speak to one of our lawyers here to clear this up.

4 questions to ask yourself in determining the legality of a second job

There are a few factors to consider when determining whether getting a secondary job during long service leave is legal – primarily what type of job you are looking for. Ask yourself:

  1. Is it a direct competitor? If so, (or even if not), is there any conflict of interest in working for both companies? 
  1. Will working for this company breach a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement between me and my current employer?
  1. Will this job put my other job at risks in terms of work health and safety concerns? (This area is broad and may even include fatigue as a relevant factor for your employer being enthusiastic about a second job. After all, the point of long service leave is reward, rest and recuperation). 
  1. Finally, are there any terms in my employment contract that prohibit me from secondary employment? If you are unsure, please contact one of our lawyers here to figure this out for you. 

If your answer to these questions is no, you are likely able to work a second job. However, it is always a good idea to check with your current employments legal team to get explicit authorisation.

Our legal guides on employment and HR may be useful for more information in these areas.

What types of secondary jobs might be okay on long service leave?

Excluding yourself from any potential conflict of interest or confidentiality concerns is important, and the best way to do this is look for a job entirely separate from your industry. If you are in the corporate sector, perhaps becoming a casual at a retail store or working as a sports coach may be rewarding and provide some extra income (without legal concerns!).

Even if something is outside of your field of work, it is still important to be careful. Confidentiality agreements may extend further than you think, so consult a lawyer or your employer for advice.

Concluding advice

Long service leave is an integral part of our workplace law in Australia. It is a reward of rest and recuperation for loyalty and great service. For some, this may provide a good time to get a secondary income. However, this leaves individuals vulnerable to legal issues. 

If you live in Victoria, the Northern Territory or South Australia you are strictly prohibited. However, if you are in NSW, the ACT, Tasmania, or Queensland this is less strict and depends on the terms of your employment and the type of job you are seeking. It is important to check with your employer, or a lawyer (click here for one of ours) to ensure you are not placing yourself in a difficult position. 

For any advice on navigating your long service leave to ensure your workplace rights are being protected, contact one of our lawyers today.

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Maxine Betty

Maxine is a Legal Tech Intern at Lawpath, working in the content team. She is studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) at the University of Sydney. She is interested in how technology is transforming the legal landscape, particularly in regards to human rights and defamation law.