Long service leave accrual during workers compensation

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Employee / workerEmployer

The continuous employment provisions in the Long Service Leave Act changed on 20 June 2022. The effect of a period of workers compensation on an employee’s period of continuous employment will depend on when the employee’s long service leave entitlement fully accrued (became due).

Long service leave entitlement accrued on or after 20 June 2022

If an employee has a long service leave entitlement that fully accrued on or after 20 June 2022 (that is, their initial 10 year period of continuous employment or subsequent 5 year period was completed on or after 20 June 2022), the current Long Service Leave Act provisions about continuous employment apply. 

This means that for a full time or part time employee, an absence from work on workers compensation does not count towards the employee’s period of continuous employment for long service leave unless:

  • the employee was accessing paid annual leave or long service leave while (i.e. at the same time) they were receiving workers compensation payments; or
  • the employee was participating in a return to work program, in which case they accrue long service leave for any time that they were engaged in productive duties (including light duties).

Different rules apply for casual employees who fully accrue a long service leave entitlement on or after 20 June 2022. For these casual employees, any absence after which the employee has, due to the regular and systematic nature of the employment, a reasonable expectation of returning to work for the employer, counts towards the employee’s period of continuous employment. An absence on workers compensation may therefore count towards long service leave accrual.

The Long service leave – Casual and seasonal employees page has more information about continuous employment for these types of employees.

Long service leave entitlement accrued pre 20 June 2022

If an employee has a long service leave entitlement that fully accrued prior to 20 June 2022, (that is, their initial 10 year period of continuous employment or subsequent 5 year period was completed prior to 20 June 2022), the previous Long Service Leave Act provisions about continuous employment continue to apply. 

This means that absences due to sickness or injury (including workplace injuries) of up to 15 days per year count towards the employee's period of continuous employment. Absences due to sickness or injury in excess of 15 days per year would not count towards the employee's period of continuous employment, unless:

  • the employee was participating in a return to work program, in which case they accrue long service leave for any time that they were engaged in productive duties (including light duties); or
  • the employee was accessing paid annual leave or long service leave while (i.e. at the same time) they were receiving workers compensation payments.

Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 2023

An employee’s accrual of long service leave during a period of workers compensation will be affected by the new Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 2023 (WCIM Act). The WCIM Act provides that, for any period for which an employee is entitled to receive income (workers) compensation, the worker accrues entitlements to long service leave. The target commencement date for the new Act is 1 July 2024.

For workers covered by the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 2023, the entitlement to accrue long service leave during a period of workers compensation will apply irrespective of the Long Service Leave Act.

Please note: other workers compensation legislation such as the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) may also regulate an employee’s entitlement to accrue long service leave whilst in receipt of workers compensation.

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