It's Big Awesome Savings time
Need help choosing a plan?
Created with Sketch. 1800 917 771 Schedule a call
Need help?
We're here for you.
Schedule call
Created with Sketch.
Image Alt Text

Guide to Long Service Leave

Long service leave is a unique employment entitlement acknowledging an employee's extended service with a single employer. It provides loyal employees with a well-deserved paid break in recognition of their services to a company. It’s also an important consideration for small business owners looking to stay on the right side of compliance laws.

This article will explore everything you need to know about long service leave in Australia, including how it differs depending on your state and how QuickBooks' powerful accounting software can help you manage your employees' leave entitlements.

What is long service leave?

Long service leave entitles employees to a certain amount of leave once they have worked for a company for a specified number of years. This legislation forms part of the National Employment Standards (NES), 11 minimum entitlements that employers must provide to all of their employees. 

It doesn’t matter whether an employee is a full-time, part-time or casual worker. They will be entitled to the relevant amount of long service leave, as long as they have worked for a company for a defined period.

The minimum time required to qualify for long service leave varies depending on the state/territory laws. These laws also dictate how much leave an employee will be granted once they cross the minimum eligibility threshold.

Under most circumstances, the time required for employees to be eligible for long service leave is 7 to 10 years. After crossing the threshold, most employees will receive 6 to 13 weeks leave.

Businesses must ensure they are up-to-date with relevant information on long service leave to ensure they remain compliant

The complete list of territories and the relevant acts that govern long service leave requirements are listed below:

Long service leave legislation - territories and states

This section will overview the unique long service leave entitlements for each state and territory in Australia.

WorkSafe ACT

The Long Service Leave Act 1976 governs long-service leave entitlements in the Australian Capital Territory. This entitles employees to 6 weeks of paid long-service leave after 7 years of continuous employment. 

After a minimum of 5 years, employees in Australian Capital Territory can receive pro rata long service leave if their employment ends early.

NSW Industrial Relations

Long service leave in New South Wales is covered by the NSW Long Service Leave Act 1955. The act dictates that employees working for the same company for 10 years are eligible for two months (8.67 weeks) of long service leave.

Employees may also be entitled to pro rata long service leave if they are let go or made redundant by their employer, as long as they were not dismissed for serious misconduct.

NT Government

Long service leave in the Northern Territory is covered by the Long Service Leave Act 1981. This legislation states that employers who work for the same company for 10 years will be entitled to 13 weeks of long service leave.

Additionally, employees will qualify for 6.5 weeks of annual service leave after every 5 years of continuous employment.

Queensland Industrial Relations

Queensland long service leave is covered by the Industrial Relations Act 2016, which specifies that workers are entitled to 8.67 weeks of paid leave following 10 years of working for the same organisation. They are entitled to an additional 4.33 weeks of long service leave every 5 years beyond that.

Much like the Northern Territory legislation, Queensland employees are entitled to have their long service leave paid to them if they lose their job after more than 10 years of service.

Safework SA

Long service leave is covered by the Long Service Leave Act 1987 in South Australia. This act entitles employees to 13 weeks of long service leave after ten years of continuous employment for the same organisation. Employees will also qualify for an extra 1.3 weeks of long service leave each subsequent year following the initial ten.

Those employed for between 7 and 10 years are entitled to pro rata long service leave. This works out to 1.3 weeks of leave for each year of employment.

WorkSafe Tasmania

Long service leave in Tasmania is governed by the Long Service Leave Act 1976. This act specifies that Tasmanian employees are eligible for 8.66 weeks of long service leave after 10 years of employment. For every 5 years of work after this, they are also eligible for a further 4.33 weeks of long service leave.

If an employee's contract is terminated after working for an organisation for over 10 years, they are entitled to have their 8.33 weeks of long service leave paid out.

Business Victoria

Victorian long service leave is governed by the Long Service Leave Act 2018. This means that Victorian employees only need to work for the same organisation for 7 years before qualifying.

The amount of long service leave in Victoria is calculated by dividing the employee's total number of hours by 60 and then multiplying it by the weekly rate of pay they received when they took their leave.

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

The Long Service Leave Act 1958 governs long service leave entitlements in Western Australia. Those with over 10 years of experience are eligible for 8.67 weeks of long service leave. In addition, they will also qualify for an additional 4.33 weeks of long service leave for every 5 years of additional employment.

Grow Your Business with QuickBooks

What is pro rata long service leave?

Pro rata long service leave entitles employees to receive part of their long service leave should they leave, or be let go from a company. The amount of pro rata is normally worked out based on the amount of time worked. 

For example, if an employee has worked for their employer for 8 years, but the qualifying period for long service leave is 10 years, they would be entitled to 80% of the entire long service leave entitlement should they leave the company.

To be eligible for pro-rata long service leave, the employee must usually have worked for at least 5 to 7 years for the same employer.

Managing pro rata long service leave requirements can be challenging for small business owners. A quality cloud payroll software that stores all employee information in one place can make it easier to stay on top of compliance.

Is long service leave affected by industry award entitlements?

Australia's industry awards apply to many people working there and may affect an employee's entitlements to long service leave.

For employees in industries covered by pre-modern industry awards, the long service leave will be determined by the terms of the award rather than state/territory laws as long as the industry includes terms about long service leave.

For example, if someone works in the aged care sector in Queensland, their industry award may state that they are eligible to take three months of long service leave after 7 years. Even though Queensland legislation states that workers are entitled to 8.67 weeks of paid leave after ten years, the individual can follow the guidelines in their industrial award, as it takes precedence over state legislation.

If an individual's industry award does not contain any terms that specify when they are eligible for long service leave, they would refer to the state laws and take the 8.67 weeks after 10 years specified in the Queensland Industrial Relations Act.

Modern awards (from 1 January 2010) contain no reference to long service leave. Employees working under modern awards should refer to the laws relevant to their state or territory.

How QuickBooks can help

QuickBooks payroll management features make it easy to track, record, calculate and process long service leave payouts, so you're always on top of what you owe your employees.

Set up leave allowance templates, track accruals based on service years, and create complex reports automatically to ensure you always stay compliant with the long-service leave legislation relevant to your state. QuickBooks makes it easy to manage your employees with confidence.

Discover how QuickBooks can simplify your long service leave management today with our 30 day free trial.

While every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information presented as at 01 May 2023, Intuit is not providing you with professional advice and we recommend you obtain your own professional advice. Intuit is not liable for your use of the information presented.


Related Articles

Looking for something else?

Get QuickBooks

Smart features made for your business. We've got you covered.

Help Me Choose

Use our product selector to find the best accounting software for you.

QuickBooks Support

Get help with QuickBooks. Find articles, video tutorials, and more.

Stay up-to-date with the latest small business insights and trends!

Sign up for our quarterly newsletter and receive educational and interesting content straight to your inbox.

Want more? Visit our tools and templates!

By signing up you are agreeing to our terms and privacy policy.

A happy small business owner signing up for the QuickBooks newsletter on laptop