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Long service leave – an overview

Make sure you or your employees get the right amount of long service leave

On this page

  • Use the long service leave calculator to determine how much leave is owing
  • Find answers to FAQs about long service leave
  • Maintain good staff records by using our workforce planning and HR templates
  • Further support details
  • Provide your feedback or suggestions

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. 

These changes include:

  • greater flexibility for women, families and people transitioning to retirement
  • access to long service leave after seven years, not ten
  • allowing employees to take long service leave in smaller increments (i.e. for any period of one day or more)
  • most absences from work do not break continuous employment
  • unpaid leave, including parental leave, counts towards long service leave
  • increased penalties for employers who do not keep records or do not produce them when requested. 

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

Read the Long Service Leave Act 2018 FAQs

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 Wage Inspectorate Victoria by giving them a call on 1800 287 287 or send them an email.

How do I calculate long service leave?

The Victorian Government's online calculator assists both employees and employers covered by the State Long Service Leave (LSL) Act to figure out someone's leave entitlement. 

You'll be prompted to fill in employment dates and any leave already taken, and an answer will be provided in seconds.

Keep in mind that although the calculator provides fairly accurate answers, they should be verified by an independent party, such as the payroll office, your union or a legal adviser.

Use the long service leave (LSL) calculator

Who does the LSL Act apply to?

  • Full time, part time, casual and seasonal employees all accrue LSL.

Who does the LSL Act not apply to?

  • The LSL Act may not apply to employees who are covered by a federal award or workplace agreement – individual or collective – where that award or agreement contains its own LSL provisions.
  • The LSL Act does not apply to employees who have their long service entitlement provided by another act or regulation – such as workers in building and construction, where it's provided by the CoINVEST scheme.

To determine whether another award or agreement applies, take a look at the Victorian Long Service Leave Act - Comprehensive Guide (PDF 509.9 KB)PDF icon for more details. Alternatively, you can give the Fairwork Ombudsman a call on 13 13 94.

How long do employees have to work to be eligible for LSL?

  • An employee will be entitled to take LSL after 10 years of continuous employment with one employer. 
  • The date of commencement of LSL is to be agreed between the employee and the employer.
  • An employee ceasing employment after at least seven years of continuous employment with one employer is entitled to be paid LSL at the accrual rate of one week for each sixty weeks of continuous employment – regardless of the reason for termination of the employment.

Visit our page on long service leave: continuous employment for more information and examples.

How can employees take LSL?

  • LSL can be taken in separate periods – so long as both parties agree.
  • 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 after each additional five years of service.
  • The actual date an employee's LSL commences should be agreed between the employer and employee.

Visit our page on how long service leave can be taken for more information and examples.

How do I calculate payment for LSL?

The calculation of long service leave is:

  • the total number of weeks employment divided by 60 and multiplied by the ordinary weekly rate of pay at the time the leave is taken, or when the employee ceases employment.

Use the long service leave (LSL) calculator 

Visit our page that provides examples of how LSL can be taken for more information.

What happens if employment is terminated?

On the day that employment ends, an employee with at least seven years of continuous service with one employer is entitled to receive – in full – payment for any LSL not taken.

Regardless of the number of staff the business employs, this will apply whether the employee:

  • has resigned
  • has had their employment terminated by the employer
  • has been made redundant
  • has died.

Visit our page on long service leave: employment termination for more information and examples.

What are the effects of other types of leave on LSL?

  • Any form of paid or unpaid parental leave – such as maternity, paternity or adoption leave – up to 52 weeks at a time, will not break continuous employment.
  • 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 other form of paid or unpaid leave – for example study leave – will also not break employment. 

Visit our page on long service leave: continuous employment for more information and examples about the effect of other types of leave on LSL.

What about casual and seasonal employees?

  • Providing the employee has had continuous employment with one employer and there's been no longer than a three month absence between two periods of employment – in some circumstances this may be longer than three months where the length of the absence is due to the terms of the engagement – LSL is accrued by the employee.
  • Independent contractors and business owners are usually not employees and wouldn't be eligible for LSL provided by the LSL Act. 

For more information about casual employment, visit our page on varied hours from week to week in examples of how long service leave is calculated.

What happens if the business is sold?

  • If a business is sold and the purchaser employs employees of the former owner, the new employer is responsible for their entire period of service with the business.
  • To account for the value of the entitlement, sometimes a trust fund is established, or the liability may be factored into the sale price of the business.
  • Irrespective of the arrangement, the new employer will automatically be responsible for the employees service with the former owner and the current owner.
  • If the new owner fails to recognise the service with the former owner, and fails to pay the correct long service leave to employees, they will be in breach of the LSL Act.
  • A breach of the LSL Act is a criminal offence and an employer may be liable for a fine and a criminal conviction, and other costs and penalties.
  • Any LSL entitlement with the former owner should not be paid out to the employee by the former owner.

Visit our page on long service leave: change of employer for more information.

Can employees cash out their LSL?

  • LSL cannot be 'cashed out' – it is an offence under the LSL Act to give or receive payment instead of the employee actually taking the break from work.

Visit our page on how long service leave can be taken for more information.

Are there penalties for breaching the LSL Act?

  • Breaching the LSL Act is a criminal offence.
  • Offences under the LSL Act attract a penalty of 20 penalty units – which is equivalent to $3171.00 in 2017-2018. An employer found guilty of an offence may also receive a criminal record.

Visit our page on long service leave: penalties for breaches for more information.

Should I factor LSL into my cash flow?

  • Making sure your cash flow is in order is one of the most important steps in making a business successful. 
  • Make sure you factor staff LSL into your cash flow forecasting so you don't get caught short.

Plan ahead and get on top of your cash flow forecasting.

Do I have to keep proper records of LSL?

  • An employer must retain a long service leave record for at least seven years after the employee dies or stops working for the employer.  

Use our template below to keep proper records of your employees LSL.

Long Service Leave Record (DOC 32 KB)DOC icon

Need further assistance?

Looking for further assistance and advice about long service leave? Give Wage Inspectorate Victoria a call on 1800 287 287.

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