Changes to long service leave in Victoria

In May 2018, the Victorian Parliament approved changes to the Long Service Leave Act, making long service leave fairer and more flexible for women, parents and carers. Employees in Victoria will enjoy these long service leave changes and entitlements from 1 November 2018.

Employees in Victoria will enjoy these changes to their long service leave entitlements from 1 November 2018.

When announcing the changes in the Act, Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins MP said “The new Long Service Leave laws are a huge win for women, parents and carers across Victoria. No one should be penalised for spending more time at home when their kids are born, or for changing their working hours to look after a loved one.”

Here are some key points about your long service leave entitlements after 1 November.

What are employees entitled to?

From 1 November 2018 employees who have more than seven years continuous service with their employer are able to take long service leave.  Presently, employees need to have served 10 years continuous service to be able to take long service leave.  

The entitlement is 1/60th of the employee’s continuous service.  For example, from 1 November, an employee who has been working continuously for seven years is entitled to take 6.06 weeks long service leave (being 1/60th of seven years).  Business Victoria has a handy long service leave calculator

If your employment ends for any reason after seven years’ service, you are entitled to be paid out your untaken long service leave entitlement.

Taking long service leave

From 1 November 2018, employees can take long service for a period of at least a day, Employees can also request to take long service leave at half pay. These request can only be rejected by an employer on reasonable business grounds. 

Previously, long service leave had to be taken in one period, unless there was an agreement reached to take up to three separate periods.

Impact of parental on the long service leave entitlement

In good news for parents and carers, paid parental leave and up to 12 months unpaid parental leave will no longer impact continuous service. Previously, if an employee took more than 12 months unpaid parental leave they lost continuity of service and any accrued long service leave entitlements. This penalised parents for spending time at home when their kids were born and disproportionately affected women.

From 1 November, if you are on your first 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave or if you are on paid parental leave, you will continue to accrue long service leave.  In some circumstances, such as if you are a casual employee, or you get agreement from your employer, the 52 weeks will be extended to two years.

Notice requirements

There is no specific requirement to give notice before taking long service leave.  However, it can only be taken by agreement.  An employer can direct an employee to take long service leave by giving the employee 12 weeks written notice. 

These changes should come into effect at your place of employment from 1 November 2018, unless you have a separate agreement with your employer.  

For more information about the long service leave in Victoria, visit the Business Victoria Long service leave overview.

Long service leave Victoria

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Mia Pantechis

Maurice Blackburn Sydney

Mia Pantechis is a Principal Lawyer in Maurice Blackburn’s Sydney employment team. She is a senior member of the only first tier law practice listed by the prestigious Doyle's Guide 2019 for employee representation. Mia is also recognised as an Employment & Work Health and Safety Rising Star by Doyle’s…

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