All Victorian employers should now be aware of the changes to the long service leave (LSL) entitlements to commence on 1 November 2018.
In announcing the changes to the Act, the Minister for Industrial Relations, Natalle Hutchins, stated:
“We’re making long service leave fairer and more accessible for all Victorians, especially women, parents and carers. No one should be penalised for spending more time at home when their kids are born, or for changing their working hours to look after a loved one.”
The changes related to the periods during which LSL accrues, the time LSL can be taken and the calculation method where an employee’s hours of work change. The key changes are:
- Employees will be able to take LSL after 7 years (rather than 10 in the current Act) and can be taken, subject to mutual agreement, one day at a time.
- LSL will accrue during all paid parental leave and during the first 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave.
- Employment remains continuous where unpaid parental leave exceeds 52 weeks.
- Where an employee’s hours of work change during their employment, LSL will be calculated at the highest average over the previous 12 months, five years or the entire period of employment.
Further details of the changes can be found at a range of professional services sites.
There are a range of immediate changes that need to be taken including:
- Updating policies, procedures and the payroll system
- Working with finance of any adjustments to the financial accruals of LSL
- Reviewing the status of all employees currently on parental leave when the new legislation is introduced
More importantly, this is a significant change to employee entitlements and if communicated correctly, could have a positive influence on your culture and employee engagement. Rather than think of it as a “compliance issue” that payroll is managing as a result of new legislation, think about how these changes can be incorporated into your current HR initiatives, for example, wellness, parental leave and transition to retirement programs.
How this is effectively communicated to employees can be an opportunity to enhance your HR initiatives and positively impact your organisation’s employment brand. Consider how you are going to communicate the change to line managers who will be approving the leave. If this isn’t done well, it can undo all the great work in aligning your HR initiatives. There are many positives and employers should take the opportunity to continue to differentiate themselves and build their employee value propositions and employment brand.