Managing people

Can you insist employees use their long service leave?

What can employers do if workers refuse to take their long service leave?

28 June 2021

Can long service leave only be taken by mutual agreement, or can you direct someone to use the leave? It all depends on the relevant state or territory long service leave legislation.

Generally, long service leave should be taken as soon as practicable, subject to the needs of the business. State and territory laws require employers to give employees a specified period of notice to take long service leave.

Here’s what you need to know:

New South Wales – Employers must normally give at least one month’s notice when directing an employee to take leave. 

Australian Capital Territory – 60 days’ notice

South Australia – 60 days’ notice.

Northern Territory – Two months’ notice.

Queensland – Three months’ notice

Victoria – 12 weeks’ notice

Tasmania and Western Australia – Employers cannot direct employees to take leave.

The bottom line: When asking an employee to take long service leave, the notice period will depend on the relevant state or territory long service leave legislation. 

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