NSW parliament proposes making COVID-19 long service leave flexibility permanent
On 15 February 2022 the NSW Government introduced a Bill making permanent changes to the Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW) (LSL Act) to provide employers and workers with greater flexibility in accessing long service leave.
The COVID-19 and Other Legislation Amendment (Regulatory Reforms) Bill 2022 includes, amongst other things, the ability for:
- a worker with an entitlement to long service leave to take that leave in two or more separate periods of not less than one day;
- an employer, with the agreement of a worker, to give less than one month’s notice of when it is proposed long service leave be given and taken;
- an employer and a worker to agree to a worker taking a period of long service leave, of not less than one day, in advance of the worker becoming entitled to it (previously any long service leave in advance was required to be taken for a period of not less than one month). The LSL Act contains a provision that upon termination of employment of a worker who has taken leave in advance, an employer may deduct the value of that leave if the termination of employment occurs before the worker became entitled to it.
The amendments proposed by the Bill had been introduced on a temporary basis in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and were due to end on 31 March 2022. However, the Government has identified economic benefits in making these amendments permanent. Those include, according to the Second Reading Speech, benefits to employers in the form of increased productivity and lower absenteeism rates associated with workers being able to work more flexibly, and benefits to workers in being able to take long service leave in a form that best suits their needs.
We will keep an eye on the Bill’s progress and update you with any developments.
Update: the COVID-19 and Other Legislation Amendment (Regulatory Reforms) Bill 2022 received assent on 24 March 2022