Australian Capital Territory — changes to long-service leave legislation

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Australian Capital Territory — changes to long-service leave legislation

The Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory recently amended both the Long Service Leave Act 1976 [ACT] and the Long Service Leave (Building and Construction Industry) Act 1981 [ACT] now providing for employees to take long-service leave at any time after seven years.

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The Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory recently amended both the Long Service Leave Act 1976 [ACT] and the Long Service Leave (Building and Construction Industry) Act 1981 [ACT] now providing for employees to take long-service leave at any time after seven years.

The amendment Act commenced from 10 September 2008.

The main points of the amendment Act are:

  • The Act now provides for long-service leave entitlements to be accessed by employees on a year-to-year basis after an initial seven-year period of continuous service with the employer.

  • The Act deletes a reference to long-service leave accruing in five-year blocks after an initial seven-year period with respect to pay in lieu of leave.

  • It is now an offence if an employer does not provide an employee with their leave entitlement if the employee asks for four weeks or more of long-service leave. This change was necessary because the amendment makes it possible for employees to access leave after an initial seven-year period on a year-to-year basis, which may be as little as 4.3 days of leave.

  • An amendment to the Long Service Leave (Building and Construction Industry) Act 1981 [ACT] corrects an anomaly created by the 2007 amendments to this Act concerning employer reimbursements in the building and construction industry portable long-service leave scheme.

LSLafter seven years

The Act has been amended to remove the five-year entitlement blocks and to allow for per annum accrual of entitlements after seven years service has been achieved.

This will allow employees to take long-service leave at any time after seven years without being disadvantaged when compared to the pre-2005 model.

The reason for the amendment to the Act is a consequence of an amendment to the same Act in 2005, which changed the eligibility period for long-service leave in the private sector from 10 years to seven years.

Under the previous legislation, the calculation of entitlement was still determined in five-year blocks after the initial seven-year eligibility period had elapsed. This led to a situation that those choosing to take their entitlement in the last two years of the existing five-year entitlement block found themselves disadvantaged in comparison to the pre-2005 situation. Under the previous legislation, employees choosing to take long-service leave after 10 or 11 years of service would be entitled to 8.67 weeks of leave. Under the current legislation, employees choosing to take long-service leave after 10 or 11 years of service are only entitled to 6.07 weeks leave. This represented a loss of approximately two and a half weeks, as the employee is not entitled to further leave until at least twelve years has elapsed.

Building and construction industry

The amendment to the Long Service Leave (Building and Construction Industry) Act 1981 [ACT] removes the formula that was introduced in 2007 that reimburses employers where employees elected to take long-service leave under the Long Service Leave Act 1976 [ACT] or other Act, instead of under the portable scheme. This amendment removes the formula and provides how reimbursements to employers are determined based on what was actually paid to the employee subject to the governing body’s approval.

Details

The amendment Act can be viewed online.


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