COVID-19 | NSW Parliament Updates Legislation Relating to Long Service Leave Entitlements
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, NSW parliament has passed a number of bills seeking to alleviate some of the hardships caused by the crisis.
One significant implication of COVID-19 in the employment sphere concerns employee access to paid leave entitlements, such as annual leave and long service leave. This becomes particularly relevant as an increasing number of businesses are closing their doors, and employers are seriously considering steps such as standing down employees. One alternative to standing down employees is for employees to take accrued leave.
On 24 March 2020, the Treasury Legislation Amendment (COVID-19) Bill 2020 was passed which removes some of the impediments in accessing long service leave in NSW.
Previously, the Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW) provided that an employer and employee may agree for the employee to take a period of long service leave but that period must have been at least one month.
From 25 March 2020, there will no longer be a requirement for employees to take a minimum period of one month’s long service leave. As such, employees will be able to negotiate with their employer to access long service leave entitlements in shorter blocks, and in different patterns, such as one day per week.
Further, an employer and employee can agree for the employee to take long service leave with less than one month’s notice, as was previously required.
These changes will provide employers and employees with increased flexibility to access leave entitlements during the COVID-19 pandemic and may help businesses retain employees on their books. Indeed, according to NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, it is expected that these changes “will provide another way for businesses to help maintain their workforce during what will be an extended period of disruption.”
This legislation will have effect for 6 months from 25 March 2020, with the possibility of a one year extension.
If you would like more information on the update contact Michael Byrnes today on +61 2 9233 5544.