Long Service Leave is an entitlement that is payable to most employees under State legislation. The rules around entitlement do vary from State to State, but in general the entitlement is available to long term employees who have typically worked for more than 5-10 years for the one employer.
For some industries that type of longevity with one employer is almost impossible. Their work is often project based and projects are not likely to run into a 10 year time frame. As such, each State and Territory has its own portable long service leave scheme which raises money through various levies and pays long service leave to those entitled based on their overall service in the industry (not necessarily to one employer).
This applies consistently for the Building and Construction industry and each State/Territory has an authority to administer a portal long service leave scheme. Some States and Territories also cover contract cleaning, security, community services and coal mining (note coal mining is administered by the Federal government). If you do operate in one of these industries you need to check with your relevant State authority to see what industries they cover.
While the concept is rather simple, the schemes are not as widely known as they should be. The responsibility to report employee service falls to the employer. If you are self employed (as in sole trader or partner in partnership), your tax agent will be able to report your service when your tax return is prepared. However, many “self-employed” tradies operate through a company or trust in which case they are employed and need to report their service as if it is an employer/employee relationship.
Tax agents can find it difficult to know who is registered for the scheme and who needs to have their service reported. If you are registered you should be getting regular correspondence from the scheme authority and this should be a trigger to report your service. If you need the help of your tax agent make sure you remind them.
If you are not registered for the scheme but believe you should be, use the links below to check out the scheme for your State/Territory. Your financial advisor should be able to help you with the registration if you are having difficulties.
In NSW, long service leave is available to building and construction workers once 10 years of service has been recorded. The long service is 8.67 weeks for 10 years of service and this is paid at the award rate for the type of work performed. If you are employed under a certified agreement the long service leave will be paid at the agreement rate. Like everything there are conditions so take the time to see how the scheme can work for you.
If you are entitled to be registered as a worker you can register yourself and let your employer know. If you have moved house it is important that you keep your contact details updated with the relevant authority.
This is real money that may be owed to you so look into it. If your long service leave is paid out by an authority it is taxable income, however tax will not have been withheld from the payment. You need to let your accountant know to include the payment in your tax return and it is strongly recommended you set some of the funds aside to pay the tax bill.
The various authorities for the Building & Construction industry are listed below. If you work in other industries such as cleaning, security or community service do some research to see if your State or Territory has a scheme that may be relevant to you.