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WR 2009/7: Long Service Leave

This Advice reminds agencies of the long standing Government policy regarding the taking of leave under the Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976 (LSL Act).

Advice on Long Service Leave legislation and related government policy

Minimum periods of Long Service Leave

2. As agencies would be aware, Commonwealth employees’ Long Service Leave (LSL) entitlements are calculated in calendar months and not working days. For this reason, it has been a long standing Commonwealth public sector policy that agencies should not grant LSL in patterns which would exclude weekends or public holidays from periods of LSL. The granting of leave in such patterns would unfairly advantage employees and add to the costs and LSL liabilities of agencies.

3. In particular, agencies should not grant LSL:

  • for periods of less than seven calendar days; or
  • in patterns where a period of annual leave breaks the LSL period, e.g. LSL/annual leave/LSL. However, agencies can grant LSL in combination with annual leave in patterns where this issue does not occur e.g. annual leave/LSL/annual leave/return to work.

4. Agencies cannot legally grant an employee a period of LSL that is greater than their entitlement under the LSL Act, no matter what method of granting LSL is applied.

LSL matters in agreements or administrative arrangements

5. As agencies would be aware, the LSL Act provides only minimal scope for varying the LSL arrangements provided for in that legislation. In particular, agencies can not modify the rate or basis on which LSL entitlements accrue or provide for cashing out of LSL credits through their agreement.

6. Agencies can modify the minimum period of LSL that can be granted through their enterprise agreements or through administrative arrangements, subject to the above policy, as this is not stipulated in the legislation. For example, agencies might choose to stipulate that LSL should not be granted for less than 15 calendar days on the basis that LSL is intended to provide employees with a substantial break from work after a period of continuous long service.

Further information and advice

7. Should you require further information or assistance on this matter, please contact your APSC Client Contact directly, email agebf [at] apsc.gov.au.

Helen Bull
Branch Manager
Public Sector Branch

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018