Amendments to the WA Long Service Leave Act

Published on Wednesday, 2 March 2022 at 11:00:00 AM

The Western Australian Long Service Leave Act 1958 (WA LSL Act) will soon be updated with several amendments. 

While no set date is confirmed, the amendments will be introduced in early 2022. For more details, refer to the WA LSL Act and the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Act 2021, or view the changes on www.commerce.wa.gov.au.

How does long service leave (LSL) work in Western Australia under the WA LSL Act?

After ten years of continuous employment with the same employer, the entitlement to LSL for full-time, part-time, and casual employees is 8.667 weeks (about two months). 

After the first ten years with the same employer, the employee’s entitlement changes to 4.333 weeks for every additional five years of service. 

When employment ends after at least seven years of continuous employment, the employee is entitled to the pro-rata amount of LSL that they have accrued.

Who is entitled to LSL in Western Australia? 

While there can be exceptions and exclusions, the general rule is that the WA LSL Act applies to the following groups of employees:

  • Western Australian state system employees (subject to exclusions)
  • Western Australian employees of national system employers and covered by federal modern awards and registered agreements (subject to exclusions)
  • Full time, part-time, casual and seasonal employees, including employees with seasonal work breaks and varied hours.
  • Apprentices and trainees

For many Western Australian local government employees their entitlement to LSL falls under the Local Government (Long Service Leave) Regulations.

What are the amendments to the WA LSL Act?

The amendments will bring in more straightforward language and clarification on the terms of employment. Amendments include:

  • The term “employee” has been expanded to state the inclusion of casual and seasonal employees.
  • Clarification on absences and their impact on “continuous employment”. Under the forthcoming amendments, the following scenarios will fall under an employee’s continuous employment.
    • An absence under the terms of an employee’s employment arrangement;
    • An absence due to seasonal factors; and
    • An absence due to the nature of the employment, and there is a reasonable expectation that the employee will return to work.
  • LSL for casual and seasonal employees. Under the WA LSL Act, casual and seasonal workers are entitled to LSL if they have 10 years of continuous employment with the same employer. A casual or seasonal employee with the required period of continuous employment may be paid LSL on ordinary pay. Ordinary pay is considered their normal weekly number of hours, or the average weekly hours worked during the qualifying period when working hours are irregular/seasonal.
  • LSL for employees paid by results. Several amendments have been made in the WA LSL Act for employees paid by commission, bonus, piece rates, or any other system of payment by results. For these types of employees, the rate of pay for periods of LSL is to be calculated from their “average weekly rate of pay” over a specified reference period. Regardless of whether an employee is wholly or partly compensated by results, they will fall into the “paid by results” category.
  • Increased flexibility on when employees can take LSL.
  • How employees can ‘cash in’ (i.e. receive payment) for LSL once accrued, rather than taking the leave.
  • Additional record-keeping and payslip requirements are being introduced with increased penalties for non-compliance.  Some of the records to be kept are:
    • Employers ABN
    • Date of any transfer of business during the employment of the employee
    • Weekly hours worked by the employee
    • Details of any leave foregone under an agreement to cash out LSL (incl. amount of leave cashed out, the benefit paid to date, and the date this occurred)
  • Retaining LSL when businesses change hands. The new amendments will recognise ways an old and new employer may have a connection that entitles the employee to have their service with the old employer recognised by their new employer. 

Implications for Altus Payroll

The good news from a payroll perspective is that there are no amendments to the amount and entitlement period for LSL.

Paid leave is a liability for any business - and most businesses are not aware of the actual cost associated with paying out leave until it’s too late.

Altus Payroll automatically captures and reports on a more accurate representation of your company’s leave and accrual provisions within the product to help you manage the leave liability.

Back to All News