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How Does Long Service Leave Work in NSW?

How Does Long Service Leave Work in NSW?
Sumire Uemura
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Long Service Leave in NSW

An employee gets a 2-month (8.67 weeks) paid leave after working continuously for 10 years. After every additional 5 years of continuous service, the employee is eligible for another 1-month (4.33 weeks) long service leave. 

This applies to full time, part-time and casual workers in most industries, who have completed at least ten years of continuous service with the same employer. 

Note that where an employee is transferred between companies in the same group or continues to work for the new owners following a transfer of business, their service continuity remains intact, and the period of service is deemed to continue. However, if the employee was transferred within the group but to another state, it is necessary for them to transfer their accumulated long service leave to the registered scheme in the new state.

To find out about your long service leave entitlements, contact NSW Industrial Relations.

Portable Long Service Leave

NSW has legislation to provide employees in the building and construction, coal mining, and contract cleaning industries with access to portable long service leave.

This means an employee keeps their long service leave entitlement even if they work on different projects for one or more employers. 

For portable long service leave in the:

How does long service leave work?

Long service leave should be taken in one continuous period of leave or, if the worker and employer agree, long service leave may be taken in 2 or more separate periods of not less than 1 day. If public holidays are included in the period of your long service leave, extra days must be added to the long service leave. Employees are usually required to give one month's notice before taking their long service leave. 

By agreement with the employer, a worker may take long service leave before it has accrued. Long service leave taken in advance must not be less than 1 month.

Can a worker be paid for their long service leave instead of taking the leave?

Usually, long service leave cannot be cashed out.

However, if a worker has completed at least five years (but less than 10 years) of continuous service, they are entitled to pro-rata long service leave and payment for their leave under the following circumstances:

  • resigned as a result of illness, incapacity, domestic or other pressing necessity
  • terminated by the employer for any reason other than serious and wilful misconduct
  • died

Who pays for long service leave? 

In your employment, your long service leave is paid at your regular pay rate by your employer. However, for portable long service leave, the long service scheme within your industry covers the cost of your leave. 

The funds for portable long service leave are collected from organisations that belong to the scheme. For example in the building and construction industry, the long service levy is applied to all NSW building and construction projects of $250,000 or more (including GST). The levy rate is 0.25% of the total cost of the work.

The levy must be paid before building work can be started. All payments go into a fund from which the Long Service Corporation (LSC) pays long service entitlements to eligible building and construction workers.

The levy is paid by:

  • the applicant of the building approval or the person for whom the work is being done, or
  • the contractor, if the work is being done on behalf of the Crown.

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