Most workers in South Australia are entitled to long service leave regardless of their employment status — e.g. full‑time, part‑time, casual. However, not all workers in South Australia will receive their entitlements through South Australia's Long Service Leave Act 1987 (SA).

Which long service leave system do I fall under?

SafeWork SA is the regulator for long service leave provisions only in relation to those workers covered under the Long Service Leave Act 1987 (SA).

A worker's long service leave entitlement forms part of the National Employment Standards. This standard applies to all workers covered by the national workplace relations system (which includes SA), regardless of any award, agreement or contract.

Workers covered under SA legislation

Workers who generally are covered under South Australia's legislation include:

  • private sector workers
  • local government workers
  • workers who, at 1 January 2010, do not have an entitlement under a pre-modernised award
  • workers not covered under an award or agreement.

Casual workers

Casual workers who are employed under a contract or a series of contracts can accrue a long service leave entitlement.

A casual worker is an employee who accepts an offer for a job knowing that there is no firm advanced commitment from the employer to provide ongoing work and/or an agreed/regular pattern of work.

Advance commitment is determined by whether:

  • the employer has the option to offer the worker hours of work and the worker has the choice as to whether they work or not
  • the worker will be offered hours when the business needs them to work
  • the employment is described as casual
  • the worker is paid a casual loading (higher rate of pay for being a casual employee) or other specific pay rate as a casual worker.

Example

Mary works according to a roster that changes every week to suit her employer’s needs (i.e. number of hours and days worked changes with each roster). Mary has the option to refuse shifts, and she can also swap allocated shifts. Mary is paid a casual loading on her rate of pay, and her employment is described as casual.

Under the law, Mary is considered to be employed as a casual employee.

Casual staff continue to be employed on a casual basis unless:

  • the employee becomes an ongoing employee
    • via casual conversion
    • through being offered and accepting an offer to become employed on a full-time or part-time basis
  • the person ceases to be employed by the employer.

Note for employers

Employers should carefully consider the true nature of the employment of their workers. Some people working under casual contracts may not be true casuals, rather, they are part-time workers. If an employer wants to offer casual work, the work must meet the criteria of casual work (as outlined above).

Example

Sally had been working as a casual working 10-20 hours per week. There has been some restructuring of the business that Sally works for and her boss, Victoria, has asked her to work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am-3pm. Sally has been told that she needs to work these specific days and hours. Sally will continue to be paid her usually hourly rate.

Under this new arrangement, Sally's employment should now be considered as part-time as the work arrangements no longer meet the criteria of casual employment.

See the Fair Work Ombudsman website for more information on casual workers.

Workers not covered under SA legislation

Workers not covered under this act include:

  • SA and Commonwealth public sector employees
  • workers in the construction industry and covered under the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Act 1987 (SA)
  • workers explicitly covered under another Act
  • workers who have a pre-modernised award (in place before 1 January 2010)
  • workers who have a long service leave entitlement under a relevant Agreement, Award or other instrument under the Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
    • for example, entitlements to long service leave outlined in an enterprise agreement will prevail over the laws outlined in the Act.

If your entitlements are not covered under the SA legislation you must contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for information relating to your long service leave.

Example

We Fix It has several workshops across the Adelaide metro and regional South Australia. We Fix It has been a member of the MTA since they opened in 2001 and their workers are covered under the Vehicle Industry Award. Reggie has been a mechanic working full-time for 13 years. Reggie's long service leave entitlements are under the Vehicle Industry Award and not the Long Service Leave Act 1987 (SA).

Reggie will need to contact the Fair Work Ombudsman to find out more about his long service leave entitlements.

Construction industry workers

If you are a construction industry worker employed under the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Act 1987 you qualify for long service leave based on your service to the industry, rather than to just one employer.

For information on long service leave provisions, construction workers should contact Portable Long Service Leave on 8332 6111 or Toll Free (SA country only) 1800 182 124.

Public sector employees

SA public sector

Public sector workers are not covered under the Long Service Leave Act 1987 (SA). Public sector employees have their long service leave entitlements defined through legislation and a Determination of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment if:

  • they are employed in the South Australian Public Service in an administrative unit or attached office, as defined by the Public Sector Act 2009
  • their employment has been declared by another Act or the Regulations.

If in doubt, talk to your agency's human resources section.

Commonwealth public sector

Commonwealth public sector employees have their provisions covered under the Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976.

Need further assistance locating your long service leave provisions?

If you're unsure if your long service leave provisions fall under SA legislation or an award or agreement ask your employer, HR manager or union representative for the name of your award, agreement or the legislation from where your provisions stem.

Page last updated: 22 April 2022