Long service leave

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

Refer to your industry award, employment contract or enterprise agreement for your leave entitlements if you are any of the following:

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

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

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 about the Fair Entitlement Guarantee on the Australian Government's Attorney-General's Department website.

When you are not entitled to long service leave

You do not accumulate long service leave for any of the following:

  • 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 three periods of at least four 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 do not 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 two months’ notice.

If you haven't taken your long service leave, you can get your leave paid out when you resign.

You can only get your long-service leave paid out if you are in one of the following situations:

  • you have reached retirement age
  • your employer ends your employment for a reason other than serious misconduct, such as redundancy
  • you have an illness, incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity which prevents you from being able to work.

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

You may need to show your employer evidence that your situation meets all the following criteria set by the law:

  • Is your reason for resignation one of illness, incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity?
  • Is your reason genuine?
  • Is your reason a real or motivating one?
  • Would a reasonable person in your circumstances need to resign from their job?
  • You are not entitled to payment of your long service leave
  • You can get payment for your full 13 weeks of leave unless you have already taken the leave.

If you have already used your 10 year entitlement, you can get payment for each completed five years of service only.

If you are unable to resolve a disagreement about your long service leave entitlements or pro-rata payments with your employer, you can take the following steps:

Step 1. Contact the Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment on 08 8999 4282 for help from a consultant.

Step 2. If your complaint is unresolved, you can fill in the long service leave complaints form and post or email it to the Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment.

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


You can contact the OCPE by mail or email:

GPO Box 4371
Darwin NT 0801

The OCPE may request your employment records from your employer, and may conduct an investigation to determine you have a legitimate entitlement.

Depending on the investigation, the OCPE may refer the matter to the Solicitor for the Northern Territory for a decision, or recommend you take your own legal action.

Last updated: 04 June 2021

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