What is Long Service Leave in Queensland? (2021 Update)
Have you been with your employer for a long time and want to take some time off? Here's what you need to know about long service leave (LSL) in Queensland.
If you’ve been working for your employer for a long time, you may be entitled to long service leave. This means that you can take an extended amount of time off of work, whilst receiving your usual pay. The eligibility requirements for Long Service Leave, however, vary from State to State. Today we look at the concept of long service leave within each respective State and Territory. Although employment law is generally regulated at a Federal level under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), long service leave is covered under state-based legislation. Furthermore, we’ll discuss what long service leave is and how it works in the State of Queensland.
What is long service leave?
Long service leave is a reward for those who work for a single employer for a long period of time. It’s a separate entity from annual leave because it only accrues after a number of years and tends to be longer than annual leave entitlements. Long service leave incentivises employees to remain in their role long-term
You will receive your usual salary for long service leave. However, it is unremunerated if you choose not to take it. Meaning that you can only receive your leave entitlements by going ‘on leave’. An exception is if you have outstanding long service leave entitlements and you’re terminated. In this case, your employer would have to pay you out for it.
Long service leave in Queensland comes under the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (‘the Act’). The Act outlines that:
- Employees are entitled to 8.6667 weeks of paid long service leave after 10 years’ of continuous service
- After 10 years, you can receive an additional 1 month (or 4.33 weeks) of long service leave. This accrues for every additional 5 years you work for your employer
- When you’ve been with your employer for more than 15 years, you can access your long service leave as it accrues
- You may be able to receive a pro-rata payment on termination if you’ve been with your employer for less than 10 years, but more than 7
- If you’ve been with your employer for less than 7 years, then you won’t have any long service leave entitlements
You can receive pro rata entitlements after 7 years of service. However, you won’t be eligible if you’re terminated due to conduct, capacity, or performance.
New South Wales
The Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW) (‘the Act’) covers LSL in New South Wales. The Act provides that:
- If you have been working for the same employer for 10 years, you can take 2 months (8.67 weeks) of paid leave
- After 10 years, you can get an additional 1 month (or 4.33 weeks) of long service leave for every additional 5 years you work for your employer
When you take long service leave, you will receive your ordinary gross weekly wage.
The Act also entails provisions for pro-rata entitlements after 5 years. These apply if the employee resigns as a result of illness, incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity. Bonuses and commissions are averaged out and included for employees that are earning less than $144,000 per year. To calculate your long service leave payment, NSW Industrial Relations has a useful calculator here.
In 2018, the Victorian Government made significant changes to long service legislation. The primary focus of these reforms was to make the provisions more suitable for women, parents and carers.
- At any time after completing 7 years of continuous employment with one employer, an employee is entitled to an amount of long service leave on ordinary pay
- This should be equal to 1/60th of the employee’s total period of continuous employment less any period of long service leave taken during that period.
In Western Australia, Long Service Leave entitlements fall under the Long Service Leave Act 1958 (amended 4 July 2006) (‘the Act’). The Act outlines;
- Entitlements equate to 8 ⅔ weeks of paid leave. This applies after having completed 10 years of continuous employment in the same business.
- An additional 4 1/3 weeks of paid leave for every 5 year period after.
Similarly, after 7 years of departure pro rata entitlements also have to be paid out. As a result, employee’s who have completed 7 to 10 years of service will have the entirety of their employment calculated pro rata.
Further, employees who leave after 10 or more years will have their leave calculated from only the years completed.
If an employee takes unpaid parental leave or leave without pay, Long Service Leave will not accrue. In addition to this, it can accrue if workers compensation applies, specifically the first 15 working days.
In South Australia, long service leave entitlements come under the Long Service Leave Act 1987 (‘the Act’). The Act provides:
- That employees are entitled to 13 weeks leave upon completion of 10 years service with an employer
- Employees can receive a further 1.3 weeks for each completed year thereafter
- Pro rata entitlements are also available after 7 years of service
If you are paid by commission or another system of payment-by-result, then your ordinary weekly wage is calculated by averaging your weekly earnings over the 12 months immediately before taking leave. Part-time and casual workers also accumulate LSL just as a full-time worker would, however, the payment for leave is based on the weekly hours worked.
Long service leave in Tasmania comes under the Long Service Leave Act 1976 (Tas) (amended 1 July 2012) (‘the Act’). The Act outlines;
- That from 1 July 2012 the LSL entitlement is 8 ⅔ weeks of paid leave after completing 10 years of continuous employment with the same employer. After each additional 5 years an employee’s entitlement is 4 ⅓ weeks of leave.
Pro rata entitlements are also available after 7 years of service. This requires that you have not been terminated due to serious and wilful misconduct.
Long Service Leave in the Northern Territory (aside from government employees and those subject to the NT Build portable long service scheme) come under the Long Service Leave Act 1981 (NT). This states:
- An employee becomes entitled to LSL once they have completed 10 years of continuous service at their employer.
- LSL still accrues if ownership of the business you work for changes
- The amount of leave is calculated as being 1.3 weeks for each year completed. For example, you will be entitled to 13 weeks’ LSL once you have been with your employer for 10 years.
- Casual employees can also accrue LSL
- You will be paid at your ordinary rate of pay whilst on LSL
However, there are circumstances where LSL entitlements will not accrue. This includes:
- Taking any form of unpaid leave
- Partially completed years of service
- Leave taken for worker’s compensation
In summary, long service leave in Queensland can only be redeemed by employees that have worked for over 10 years for one employer. This amount equates to 8.6667 weeks, and for every 5 years above the 10 year mark another 4.33 weeks is applied additionally. If you’re still unsure on where you sit regard long service leave it’s probably best to consult with your employer. Alternatively, if you feel as though that there should be legal action taken for a wrongdoing, submit a free quote to an employment lawyer.
Dominic is the CEO of Lawpath, dedicating his days to making legal easier, faster and more accessible to businesses. Dominic is a recognised thought-leader in Australian legal disruption, and was recognised as a winner of the 2015 Australian Legal Innovation Index.