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23 March 2021 | Minutes to read: 2

Long service leave obligations and COVID-19 – are you compliant? (NSW)

By Ian Robertson

On 25 March 2020 temporary laws came into effect to create greater flexibility for employers and workers when accessing long-service leave.

The temporary amendments (designed to provide relief for businesses impacted by COVID-19 trading restrictions) are due to end shortly, as shown below:

Asking employees to take long service with short notice periods – ends 24 March 2021

This temporary amendment allows an employer to give less than one month’s notice to a worker to take their long service leave entitlement, if the worker agrees.  From 24 March 2021, an employer will be required to give the worker at least one month’s notice before the long service leave commencement date (as is consistent with the NSW Long Service Leave Act 1955).

Allowing workers to take long service leave in short periods – ends 13 May 2021

This temporary amendment allows workers to take leave in small blocks, such as one or two days a week.  From 13 May 2021 onwards, workers will be required to take long service leave under the following guidelines (as is consistent with the NSW Long Service Leave Act 1955):

  • As one continuous period

OR

  • In two separate periods – where the leave owing is 2 months or more
  • In two or three separate periods – where the leave owing is between 2 months and 19 and a half weeks
  • In two, three or four separate periods – where the leave owing is over 19 and a half weeks.

Accrual of long service leave when stood down – ends 12 March 2021

If a worker has been stood down between 11 March 2020 and 12 March 2021, as a direct or indirect result of the pandemic, they continue to accrue long service leave entitlements.

Your Next Steps:

  • Review your long service leave agreements to ensure they comply with current legislation
  • Use the correct methods for calculating long service leave for each employee class
  • Ensure records are up to date, readily accessible and legible – including periods where workers were temporarily stood down as a result of the pandemic.

If you require assistance or would like more information on the Long Service Obligations, please get in contact with your William Buck Risk Advisor.

Useful Resources

https://www.industrialrelations.nsw.gov.au/employers/nsw-employer-essentials/long-service-leave-entitlement-nsw/

https://www.industrialrelations.nsw.gov.au/employers/nsw-employer-essentials/covic-19-frequently-asked-questions/

Long service leave obligations and COVID-19 – are you compliant? (NSW)

Ian Robertson

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