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How long service leave can be taken

Find out how and when long service leave can 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

Long Service Leave changes coming 1 November 2018

The Long Service Leave Act 2018 will come into effect on 1 November 2018 and supersede the 1992 Act. 

This website, including the Long Service Leave calculator, will be updated to reflect those changes on 1 November.

Click here to view the full Long Service Leave Act 2018

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 LSL 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 LSL may be taken in up to three separate periods – and subsequent LSL may be taken in two separate periods.

Directing employees to take LSL

  • If an agreement can't be reached about when LSL is to be taken – once an entitlement to LSL has accrued – an employer may direct an employee to take leave at a particular time by giving at least 3 (three) 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 LSL is accrued – the employer may recover the amount of any advance payment.

Deferring LSL

  • An employee can request deferral of their LSL. 
  • The rate of pay when the employee takes the LSL 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. However, taking half the leave at double pay is not permitted.

Example – Jane has accrued leave

  • Jane has 13 weeks accrued leave and could elect to take a 26 week break at half pay. However, Jane isn't permitted to take half the leave at double pay

Swapping LSL for cash

  • An employee cannot 'cash out' their LSL
  • 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 LSL – 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.

Need further assistance?

Looking for further assistance and advice about long service leave? Give Employment Information and Compliance a call on 1800 287 287.

We value your opinion

We welcome any feedback, comments or suggestions you might like to share with us.

If you own, are looking to purchase, or start a small business with under 20 employees, you may be eligible for our Long Service Leave Small Business Information Service (LSLSBIS).

LSLSBIS offers one-on-one information and advice regarding your responsibilities under the Victoria Long Service Leave Act.

To access this program, contact the Employment Information and Compliance Unit by giving them a call on 1800 287 287 or send them an email.