Long service leave

This page has information for most employees in the Northern Territory (NT) who are covered under the Long Service Leave Act 1981.

You must refer to your industry award, employment contract or enterprise agreement for your leave entitlements if you're:

  • a NT Government employee
  • an Australian Government employee
  • a construction worker under the NT Build portable long service scheme.

If you need help working out your award agreement, speak to your employer, union or the Australian Government's Fair Work Ombudsman.

You may be eligible for 13 weeks of long service leave after 10 years of continuous service with your employer.

Long service leave is calculated at 1.3 weeks of leave for each year of employment.

You are still entitled to accumulate long service leave in the following situations:

  • casual employment
  • if the business you work for is transferred from one employer to a new owner.

You cannot cash in your leave instead of taking it.

If you lose your job because your employer is bankrupt or liquidated, you may be able to get your long service leave entitlements paid out.

Read more about the fair entitlement guarantee on the Australian Government's Attorney-General's Department website.

When you're not entitled to long service leave

You don't accumulate long service leave for:

  • part years of completed service
  • absences taken for workers compensation
  • taking unpaid leave.

You can take your leave in one continuous period, or if your employer agrees, you can take your leave in no more than 3 periods of at least 4 weeks at a time.

While on long service leave, you will be paid at your usual rate of pay. This does not include overtime, penalties, or district and site allowances.

Public holidays and weekends are part of long service leave and don't add extra days to your leave.

Your employer can require you to take your long service leave entitlement but they must give you at least 2 months’ notice.

The following information is a guide only and should be read with section 10 of the Long Service Leave Act 1981.

Ten years of continuous service or more

If you have completed 10 years of continuous service and haven't taken your long service leave, you can get your credit paid out when you resign.

You will receive payment for each completed year of service.

For example, if you have worked 14.5 years, you will receive payment for 14 years, excluding any leave you have already used.

Seven years of continuous service but less than ten

If you have completed at least 7 years of continuous service, but less than 10, you can only get your pro-rata long service leave paid out if:

  • you have reached retirement age
  • your employer ends your employment for a reason other than serious misconduct eg. redundancy
  • you’re resigning as you’re unable to work due to an illness, incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity.

If you meet any of these conditions, you will be paid for each completed year of service.

For example, if you worked 8.5 years, you will receive the pro-rata amount for 8 years.

To receive payment of your pro-rata leave, you may need to show evidence that:

  • your reason for resigning is:
    • due to an illness, incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity
    • genuine
    • real or motivating
  • in your circumstance, any reasonable person would resign from their job.

To find out the retirement age and when you can access the age pension, go to the Australian Government's Services Australia website.

If you're unable to resolve a disagreement about your long service leave entitlements or pro-rata payments with your employer, you can follow these steps:

Step 1. Call the Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment (OCPE) on 08 8999 4282 for help from a consultant.

Step 2. If your complaint is unresolved, you can fill in the long service leave complaint form.

Long service leave complaint form DOCX (73.5 KB)
Long service leave complaint form PDF (37.5 KB)

Step 3. Submit your form by mail or email to the OCPE.

They will conduct an investigation to determine you have a legitimate entitlement.

They may also request your employment records from your employer.

Depending on the investigation, they:

  • may refer the matter to the Solicitor for the NT for a decision
  • recommend you take your own legal action.


You can contact the OCPE by mail or email:

GPO Box 4371
Darwin NT 0801

Last updated: 15 August 2022

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