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How long service leave can be taken

Confidently agree on how Long Service Leave will be taken.

On this page

  • Reach an agreement about how leave is taken
  • Know how long service leave can be taken over time
  • Understand payments and long service leave
If you need further assistance at any time, please contact Employment Information and Compliance on 1800 287 287

Reaching an agreement

Although the Long Service Leave (LSL) Act provides that the employee has an entitlement to take leave, the actual date the leave commences should be agreed between the employer and the employee.  The long service leave must be taken in one period, except where an employer and employee agree to separate periods. If an agreement is reached, then the first thirteen weeks of long service leave may be taken in up to three separate periods, and subsequent long service leave may be taken in two separate periods.

Directing employee to take LSL

If agreement cannot be reached about when long service leave is to be taken once entitlement to long service leave has accrued, an employer may direct an employee to take leave at a particular time by giving at least 3 months written notice. An employee can, however, seek an order from the magistrates court regarding their leave.

Taking LSL in advance

The employee and employer may agree on the leave being taken before an entitlement is actually due. If the employment is then terminated before the long service leave is accrued, the employer may recover the amount of any advance payment.

Deferring LSL

An employee can request deferral of their long service leave. The rate of pay when the employee then takes the long service leave will be the rate agreed in writing between the employer and employee. The rate cannot be less than the employee’s ordinary rate of pay at the time the leave was due.

LSL at half pay

An employee and employer may make an agreement which allows the employee to take a period of leave at half pay. For example, an employee with 13 weeks accrued leave could take a 26 week break at half pay.  However, taking half the leave at double pay is not permitted.  To check when your leave is due and how many weeks long service leave you will be entitled to use our long service leave calculator.

Swapping LSL for cash

An employee cannot 'cash out' their long service leave. It is an offence under the LSL Act to give or receive payment instead of the employee actually taking the break from work. An employee can only receive payment in lieu of taking long service leave if their employment ends before the leave is actually taken.

The penalty for this offence is 20 penalty units for each of the employee and the employer. If an employer or employee is found guilty of this offence, a criminal conviction may also be recorded.