Written by Michael Rebula

Long service leave is an employee entitlement that provides an employee with additional leave once that employee has worked with an employer for a long period of time.

In Victoria long service leave can be taken by an employee once they have performed a long service of continuous employment.  This long service period has, until recently, required a period of no less than 10 years before leave could be taken.

Recent changes have been made to the way long service leave works in Victoria with the introduction of the Long Service Leave Act 2018.  These changes came into effect on 1 November 2018 and are intended to make the rules associated with long service leave easier to understand as well as fairer to employees, particularly when their circumstances change.

What are the key changes to be aware of?

Some of the key changes include:

  • Employees will be able to apply for leave after seven years of work, rather than ten years. Under the previous Act employees could not take leave until after 10 years but were entitled to be paid in lieu of leave after 7.
  • Employees can now take long service leave in smaller increments, i.e. a minimum of one day per occasion if desired.
  • Absences from work including unpaid parental leave will generally not break continuous employment. Under the previous Act, a period of unpaid parental leave exceeding 12 months may have broken this continuity of employment.
  • Certain breaks will now count towards accrual of long service leave, e.g. unpaid parental leave of up to 52 weeks, or longer in certain circumstances. Under the previous Act, accrual of leave during periods of absence did not take place.
  • There are now specific provisions entitling casual and seasonal employees to long service leave where employment has been continuous. Continuous employment means that there has not been absence of more than 12 weeks between any two instances of employment subject to certain factors such as the employer and employee agreeing, reasons for the absence and expectations regarding regularity and structure of employment.

If you are a Victorian employer it is important that you clarify whether the Long Service Leave Act 2018 applies to you and if so, ensure you are aware of the changes that this new Act brings.

If you would like assistance with these changes or to find out more about how long service leave works and what these changes mean to you, please contact your Davidsons team member or call us on 03 52216399 or email at info@davidsons.com.au for more information.

Disclaimer: Davidsons is not licensed to provide any financial product advice nor make any recommendations in respect of any financial product. If you require such advice, you will need to consult a financial adviser who is licensed to provide financial product advice before you make a decision on a financial product. Davidsons accepts no responsibility for any loss suffered as a result of any party using or relying on this article.