Long Service Leave

LSL x EAs. Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

LSL x EAs. Relationship Status: It’s Complicated
Drew Cutler
Drew Cutler
minute read
March 27, 2023
Workforce compliance

In the past, Australian workers became eligible for LSL through Commonwealth and State or Territory legislation. However, over the last 20 years, there has been a shift towards increasing the role of enterprise bargaining in industrial relations, while reducing the reliance on Modern Awards. Accordingly, several minimum standards previously captured within Awards now appear within statutory safety nets (e.g., the National Employment Standards). Even though LSL entitlements are protected as a National Employment Standard (NES), no uniform national LSL entitlement exists. Instead, entitlements vary from state to state, between industries, and from employer to employer. These varying entitlements leave employers grappling with a complex system and are consequently vulnerable to non-compliance. 

For example, EAs covering Victorian nurses contain up to five entitlements and accrual methods for LSL. Employees can accrue LSL differently depending on everything from employment status, qualification, and position classification. 

Other EAs operate hybrid arrangements that consider state-based legislation and negotiated entitlements to LSL (developed and bargained over time with employees and their Union) – See Tomago Aluminium Maintenance/ Trades Enterprise Agreement 2018. 

Adding to this love triangle are various state-based portable long-service leave schemes. These schemes provide leave to a worker for service to a particular industry rather than continuous service to one employer. Portable Long Service Leave schemes in these industries allow employees to continue earning LSL benefits even when they change employers or move interstate.  

Different entitlements and rules for LSL throughout Australia and across occupations create confusion, particularly for businesses operating across various states or with multiple enterprise agreements.  

With the Federal Government’s proposed wage theft legislation on the horizon, now is the time for employers to address their compliance concerns. Yellow Canary can help take the stress out of workforce compliance.

* Yellow Canary content on this website is intended solely for the purpose of offering commentary and general knowledge. The content is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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