COVID-19: changes to NSW long service leave legislation26 March 2020
It goes without saying that the spread of COVID-19 is unprecedented and of worldwide concern. We know there are many challenges facing employers at this time. Despite a downturn in work, most employers are looking at ways to keep their valued employees in a job for as long as they can. To achieve this, many employees are being asked to use their accrued long service leave and annual leave during this time.
Overnight there were some changes to the NSW Long Service Leave legislation. These changes see some of the rules around taking long service leave relaxed. We have explained these changes in some more detail below. We expect other states will follow suit.
A new section, ‘Section 15A COVID-19 pandemic-special provisions’ has been inserted into the Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW), which makes the following changes:
|Subject Matter||Previous position
|Period of Long Service Leave||An employer could not allow a period of long service leave to be taken by an employee of less than one month (s 4(3A)).||An employer may give a worker a period of long service leave that is less than one month if the worker agrees to that lesser period of leave (s 15A(2)).|
|Notice required to take Long Service Leave||An employer was required to give at least one months’ notice of the date from which it was proposed that the worker’s long service leave was to be given and taken (s 4(10)).||An employer may give a worker less than one month’s notice if the worker agrees to that lesser period of notice (s 15A(3)).|
The section has effect for six months (with the possibility of extending to 12 months) and prevails to the extent of any inconsistency with any other provision of the Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW).