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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

How do I calculate long service leave?

The Victorian Government's online calculator assists both employees and employers covered by the Long Service Leave Act 2018 (LSL Act 2018) to calculate long service leave (LSL) entitlements. 

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

Although answers provided by the calculator should be accurate, we advise you have LSL entitlements verified by an independent party, such as your payroll office, union or a legal adviser.

Use the long service leave calculator

Who does the LSL Act 2018 apply to?

  • Most Victorian employees (excluding employees under some Commonwealth enterprise agreements and pre-reform awards, and other Victorian laws). Categories/types of employment generally include: full time, part time, casual, seasonal and fixed term. 
  • Employees under certain labour hire arrangements.

Who does the LSL Act not apply to?

  • The LSL Act 2018 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 2018 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 an award or agreement applies instead of the LSL Act 2018, call the Fair Work Ombudsman 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 completing a minimum of 7 years' 'continuous employment' with 'one employer'. 

For more information see: LSL Act 2018 Fact Sheet 2 - taking LSL (DOCX 142.51 KB)DOCX icon

Visit our page on Long service leave: continuous employment for more information.

How can employees take LSL?

  • LSL can be taken for any period of not less than one day
  • an employee can request to take a period of LSL for twice as long as the period to which they are entitled, at half their ordinary pay
  • an employee can request to take LSL at any time after 7 years’ continuous employment
  • the employer must grant leave as soon as practicable following the employee’s request unless the employer has 'reasonable business grounds' for refusing the request
  • an employer may direct an employee to take leave by giving at least 12 weeks’ written notice. If the employee does not want to take their leave at the time nominated by the employer, they can apply to the Industrial Division of the Magistrates’ Court.

For more information see: LSL Act 2018 Fact Sheet 2 - taking LSL (DOCX 142.51 KB)DOCX icon

You can also visit our page How long service leave can be taken.

How do I calculate payment for LSL?

LSL is calculated as 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

For more information see LSL Act 2018 Fact Sheet 7 - entitlement to take leave and 'ordinary pay' (DOCX 166.81 KB)DOCX icon

For further information see our How long service leave can be taken page.

What happens if employment is terminated?

Employees are entitled to take LSL after a minimum of 7 years’ continuous employment. If employment ends after 7 years’ for any reason, the employee must be paid any unused LSL entitlement. The amount is to be paid in full on the final day of employment.

For further information see LSL Act 2018 Fact Sheet 3 - LSL and termination of employment (DOCX 142.22 KB)DOCX icon

You can also visit our page Long service leave: employment termination.

Impact of other types of leave on LSL

All forms of paid leave count towards the period of continuous employment for LSL accrual. Examples include: annual leave, carer’s leave, and long service leave.

However, unpaid leave exceeding 52 weeks will not count unless:

  • the period of absence is taken to be a period of employment in accordance with the relevant written or oral employment agreement
  • the employee and employer agree in writing before the leave is taken that the leave is taken to be a period of employment
  • the leave taken is because of illness or injury
  • the leave is any other form of leave provided for in the relevant written or oral employment agreement.

For more information see LSL Act 2018 Fact Sheet 6 - accrual of LSL - impact of leave, absences and interruptions (DOCX 142 KB)DOCX icon

You can also visit our page Long service leave: continuous employment for more information and examples about the impact of other types of leave on LSL.

What about casual and seasonal employees?

The LSL Act 2018 entitles full time, part time, casual, seasonal and fixed term employees to LSL where their employment has been 'continuous'. Under the LSL Act 2018, this means that there must not be an absence of more than 12 weeks between any two instances of employment, unless:

  • the employee and the employer so agree before the start of the absence 
  • the absence is in accordance with the terms of the engagement 
  • the absence is caused by seasonal factors 
  • the employee has been employed on a regular and systematic basis and has a reasonable expectation of being re-engaged.

Independent contractor vs employee?

Genuine independent contractors are not employees and are generally ineligible for LSL under the LSL Act 2018. However, whether a person is truly an independent contractor or employee needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.

For an assessment of whether a person is a genuine independent contractor or an employee you can speak to the Commonwealth Independent Contractors Hotline on 1300 667 850

Business owners are usually not employees and are ineligible for LSL provided by the LSL Act 2018. 

For more information see LSL Act 2018 Fact Sheet 4 - LSL casual and seasonal employees (DOCX 143.01 KB)DOCX icon

You can also read our examples of how long service leave is calculated.

What happens if the business is sold?

If a business is sold and the purchaser employs an employee of the former owner, the new employer is responsible for their entire period of employment 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 employee’s period of employment with the former owner and themselves. If the new owner fails to recognise the employment with the former owner and fails to pay the correct LSL to employees, they will be in breach of the LSL Act 2018. A breach of the LSL Act 2018 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 cashed out to the employee by the former owner.

For more information see LSL Act 2018 Fact Sheet 5 - 'one employer' (DOCX 142.43 KB)DOCX icon

You can also visit our page 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 2018 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 2018?

Yes, there are criminal penalties for breaching the LSL Act 2018. 

The LSL Act 2018 creates offences, including under section 9(2) where an employer fails to pay an employee their LSL entitlement on the day employment ends. An authorised departmental officer may prosecute for a breach of the LSL Act 2018. The penalty for this offence is 12 penalty units for a natural person, and 60 penalty units for a body corporate. Penalties can apply for each day during which the offence continues.

The value of a penalty unit varies from time to time and is updated on 1 July each year. From 1 July 2018, one penalty unit is $161.19 – meaning a fine of 12 penalty units is $1,934.28, and 60 penalty units is $9,671.40. 

If an employer is found guilty of this offence, a criminal conviction may also be recorded.

An employee or their personal representative may seek to recover unpaid entitlements through a civil claim in the Industrial Division of the Magistrates’ Court within 6 years of the day their employment ends.

Other offences

Adverse Action

There are also penalties for employers who engage in adverse action against their employees in relation to LSL.

Adverse action is defined to include dismissing an employee, altering the position of an employee to their prejudice, or discriminating against the employee. It is an offence under the LSL Act 2018 for an employer to take adverse action against an employee because:

  • the employee has an entitlement under the Act
  • the employee seeks to exercise an entitlement under the Act
  • the employee enquires about their entitlements under the Act
  • the employee challenges a direction to take LSL in the Magistrates’ Court.    

It is also an offence to make false or misleading representations about an employee’s LSL entitlements.   

There are potentially significant penalties and orders that a Court may make against an employer for engaging in adverse action, including up to 52 weeks’ remuneration.

For more information, see Long service leave: penalties for breaches.

Failure to keep records under the LSL Act 2018

An employer must keep accurate records of the employee’s LSL during the entire period of employment and retain these for at least seven years after the employment ceases.

Records must be kept in the form (if any) prescribed by the regulations made under the LSL Act 2018.

The Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act), which applies to all Victorian businesses, also requires that employment records be kept, and that pay slips be provided to employees. 

It is an offence to fail to keep records in the manner prescribed by the LSL Act 2018. The penalty for this offence is 12 penalty units for a natural person, and 60 penalty units for a body corporate. If an employer is found guilty of this offence, a criminal conviction may also be recorded.

An employer must not refuse a request from an employee to provide their long service leave record. The penalty for this offence is 12 penalty units for a natural person, and 60 penalty units for a body corporate.

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 LSL records?

It is an offence for an employer to fail to maintain records. It is also an offence to make a false or misleading statement in a record.

An employer must not refuse a request from an employee to provide their LSL record. The penalty for this offence is 12 penalty units for a natural person, and 60 penalty units for a body corporate.

Authorised officers can require a person to provide information or documents for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing compliance with the LSL Act 2018. Subject to certain rules, it is a criminal offence not to provide information or documents sought by an authorised officer in accordance with the LSL Act 2018. It is also a criminal offence to produce a false document.

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 Victoria's LSL Act 2018.

To access this program, contact Wage Inspectorate Victoria by giving them a call on 1800 287 287 or send them an email.

Need further assistance?

Looking for further assistance and advice about long service leave? Email Wage Inspectorate Victoria or call 1800 287 287.

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