WA councils welcome long service leave reforms

The West Australian government has introduced new regulations which it says will modernise long service leave provisions for local government employees.

Karen Chappel: clarity

The new regulations, which come into effect in September, have been welcomed by the West Australia local government peak WALGA as a win for the sector.

Among other things, the reforms bolster the local government long service leave portability scheme, which enables staff to take their accrued leave with them when they move from one local government to another.

Other significant changes include allowing an employee to access their long service leave in advance after seven years in agreement with their employer.

The regulations will also allow employees to request to cash out of their long service leave after 10 years.

Under the state’s local government act, local government employees are entitled to 13 weeks long service leave for every 10 years of service in the sector, accessible after 10 years.

Finally, says WALGA

The regulations also allow long service leave to be taken in one continuous period, or more periods which may be as short or as long as the employer and employer agree. For example, an employee may reach agreement to use their entitled 65 days off work to work 65 four-day work weeks.

WALGA President Karen Chappel says the changes clarify regulations that have previously been difficult to interpret and apply, something the association has been lobbying for since 2013.

Questions about Long Service Leave have been one of the highest inquiry items for WALGA’s Employee Relations team, she said.

“We would like to thank the Local Government Minister Hannah Beazley for consulting WALGA in this review,” Cr Chappel said in a statement.

“We are also pleased that the Department for Local Governments has substantially adopted our recommendations in the shared documentation and forms that will be used by Councils and Local Government employees for their LSL entitlements.

“We will work with the Department to educate the sector on the changes, which will start on 1 September 2024.”

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2 thoughts on “WA councils welcome long service leave reforms

  1. I welcome the changes but feel that it could also include changes to LSL entitlements after 10 years.
    I have just recently retired after 18 years and was told that I could only take pro-rata LSL at 15 and 20 years. I had taken them at 15 but not at 18, I had to wait till 20 years.
    I did get paid out when I retired.
    Also I think that the calculation of LSL needs to be overhauled from its archive method.
    The way I was told it worked was that they look at the last 12 months of employment and your remaining LSL is calculated at that rate.
    I transitioned to retirement which is something that councils should and Cockburn did encourage to 25 hours per week for my last 18 months and therefore the last 3+ years of my LSL was paid out at 25 hours per week even though the previous years I had worked 38 hours.
    The really stupid thing is that our payroll system Technologyone calculated the LSL entitlement on the hours worked which is logical but is ignored.
    When you leave they calculate everything at the last 12 months which I think which in my case was 25 hours.
    Unfortunately you don’t find this out until you leave.
    The other side of the coin which is also rediculous is that you could work 1 day a week for 9 years and in the 10th year you go full time and your LSL payout is at 38 hours per week.
    The logic is archic and I can only assume that it stems from decades past when payroll was manual and for long serving employees it was too hard to calculate 20 or 30 years of employment so they opted for the last 12 months.
    I loved my time at the council but feel that I was short changed by this crazy calculation method.
    I am sure that there are and will be many other long serving employees that will transition to retirement in the future and will also be affected.
    Can I suggest that someone looks into this archic process and makes changes, computer systems record LSL accurately so why ignore those calculations and rely on someone manually having to calculate the outstanding amount, there is much greater chance of error with manual calculations.

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