The NSW Parliament has passed changes to long service leave, creating greater flexibility for employers and employees to access leave during the COVID-19 crisis.
The amendments to the Long Services Leave Act 1955 will allow employees to take leave in shorter blocks, such as one day a week and without the traditional one-month notice period, by agreement with their employer.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, who introduced the changes into the NSW Parliament, said the flexibility was very important during a time when businesses are looking at every option to keep staff on their books.
“These changes will provide another way for businesses to help maintain their workforce during what will be an extended period of disruption,” Mr Perrottet said.
“It requires the agreement of both the employee and employer for this to be done.
“We expect this to be an option which will help people get through the next few months and effectively put money in their weekly budgets.”
Key amendments include waiving the one-month notice period for taking leave (by mutual agreement between employee and employer), and greater flexibility for employees to take this leave in shorter blocks if they wish (rather than traditional monthly blocks).
The legislation will have effect for six months from today, with the possibility of an extension to one year.
Earlier this week, Business NSW revealed it had formally written to Mr Perrottet, seeking urgent changes to legislation to enable workers to access their accrued long service leave now, potentially saving thousands of jobs.
“As part of our proposed changes, to operate only during the pandemic, staff will be eligible to take any accrued leave as a way of potentially keeping their job,” said Business NSW chief executive Stephen Cartwright.
“In my correspondence with the Treasurer, I told him that many of our members are keen to access accrued long service leave provisions by asking staff to take that leave rather than having to stand them down or make them redundant.”
As bars, restaurants and clubs shut their doors at noon on Monday and further restrictions were brought in on Wednesday, thousands of workers have been left jobless.
Figures released on Tuesday by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre suggested that the unemployment rate will surge from the current 5.1 per cent to 11.1 per cent in August, before reaching 12.7 per cent in May next year.
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business.
Maja has an extensive career as a journalist across finance, business and market intelligence. Prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja spent several years unravelling social, political and economic intricacies in Eastern Europe.
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