Fairer long service leave entitlements for parents and carers

Fairer long service leave entitlements for parents and carers

In very exciting news, changes to the Victorian long service leave legislation will mean that people on parental leave (both unpaid and paid) will now continue to accrue long service leave whilst on parental leave – an important change to start addressing gender inequity issues in the workplace. This change will come into effect in November 2018.

For more information about the changes, visit Business Victoria.

What is the law now in Victoria? 

Under the current system in Victoria, an employee’s parental leave, whether paid or unpaid, does not count towards service for the purpose of long service leave. Furthermore, if a parent takes over 12 months of unpaid parental leave, this can ‘break’ continuity of service, which means that the clock completely resets for the purpose of accruing long service leave.

This has meant that in the past, parents (in particular women given they are often the primary carer) have been seriously disadvantaged for taking parental leave.  

Is this the same for other states?

Each state has its own individual piece of legislation on long service leave, and therefore it would take too long (and be too yawn inducing!) to go through them all now. (See below for links).

What we will say, though, is that the new changes in Victoria are not the norm, and that NSW and QLD, for example, continue not to recognise service for the purposes of long service leave for those on unpaid parental leave.

But what about superannuation? 

Unfortunately, superannuation is not payable when people are on parental leave – both via the government paid parental leave scheme or an employer provided leave (unless it’s specifically provided for in a policy or contract). However, employers can make voluntary payments which is an excellent way to address the imbalance when it comes to the discrepancy between women’s and men’s superannuation entitlements.

Written by Catherine Brooks,  a practising lawyer for over a decade and currently an accredited specialist in workplace relations. Catherine is also the author of Let’s make it work, baby!: A kick arse guide to personal and professional success for new parents.

To find out about long service leave entitlements in other Australian states or territories and how they are affected by parental leave, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman.

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