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Long service leave: Continuous employment

Understand the rules and get Long Service Leave calculations right.

On this page

  • Know how leave affects continuous employment
  • Understand what breaks continuous employment
  • Use examples to apply the rules
If you need further assistance at any time, please contact Employment Information and Compliance on 1800 287 287

Leave and continuous employment

For an employee to become entitled to long service leave, their employment with their employer must be continuous. This does not prevent the employee taking certain breaks from work, paid or unpaid including the following.

Parental leave

Any form of paid or unpaid parental leave (maternity, paternity or adoption leave), up to 52 weeks at a time or longer as per legal entitlement, will not break continuous employment. While unpaid parental leave will not break continuous employment, LSL will not accrue during this time.

Illness or injury

An absence of any length from work on account of illness or injury (which includes a WorkCover absence), annual leave, or long service leave itself will not break employment.

Any absence from work of not more than 48 weeks in any year on account of illness or injury is to be counted as part of the period of employment. Any absence for that reason in excess of 48 weeks is not to be counted. Illness or injury leave includes a WorkCover absence.

Unpaid leave

Any other form of paid or unpaid leave, for example study leave, will also not break employment.

Lack of work

If an employee is stood down by their employer because of a lack of work, their employment will remain unbroken.

Dismissed and re-employed

If an employee is dismissed by their employer but subsequently re-employed before three months have elapsed, then employment will be unbroken for purposes of long service leave.

Leave and LSL accrual

Most forms of paid and unpaid leave, except unpaid parental leave, will count toward the period of employment and so LSL will continue to accrue during this time. Although unpaid parental leave will not count, any paid parental leave will count toward employment and LSL will continue to accrue.

Breaks to continuous employment

Continuous employment will be broken where an employee resigns from employment, even if the employee is subsequently re-employed. Continuous employment will be broken where an employee is dismissed by their employer and is subsequently re-employed after three months have elapsed.


Example 1

Koby has been a mechanic at S.B.A Auto Repairs for six and a half years. He gets offered a job by a new repair shop which opens for business down the road.

He accepts the offer and resigns from S.B.A. However, after just one month, Koby realises that he has made a mistake. He is required to work really long hours with minimum wages.He asks for his old job back at S.B.A. Auto Repairs and they welcome him back.

In this case, although Koby was only gone for one month, the fact that he resigned means his continuous service is broken. Example of how WorkCover leave affects long service leave calculations.

Example 2

Silvie is employed as a dishwasher at the Happy Valley Coffee House. Her employment is terminated as the employer decides he no longer needs a dishwasher, because the kitchen-hand should be able to do those duties as well as his own. After one and a half months, the employer realises that it just isn’t working and that in fact Silvie did a whole more than just dishwashing, and asks her to come back.

As Silvie is re-employed within 3 months, this break in the employment period will not break her continuity of employment.