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Casual workers are entitled to long service leave and under the same conditions as full-time and part-time employees; that is, they will receive 13 weeks after 10 years of continuous service. Pro-rata leave is also available after 7 years of continuous service (if the worker lawfully leaves their employment between 7 and 10 years).

The long service leave entitlement will be calculated by averaging the number of hours worked over the 3 years (156 weeks) immediately prior to taking leave if you:

  • are employed on an hourly basis at an hourly rate of pay, or
  • work variable hours per week and consequently your weekly rate of pay is varied (e.g you may work part-time with a set minimum number of hours but the maximum number of hours per week may vary), or
  • work on a casual basis.

You will be paid at your current base hourly rate of pay as a casual worker, including the casual loading.

Working weeks

Any week the worker was not officially on leave (unpaid leave for casuals) is counted as a working week.

For casual workers, this includes any week where:

  • a worker has undertaken paid employment with the employer
  • a worker was available for paid employment but did not receive a shift
  • a worker made themselves unavailable to work but did not request leave.

Any weeks of paid leave are counted in the 3 year (156 weeks) averaging period.

Unpaid leave

Unpaid leave that counts towards service

Any unpaid sick leave counts towards service.

If a worker is granted leave in accordance with their employment contract (e.g. Christmas shutdown or holiday periods for employment associated with educational facilities), the weeks of absence count towards service and are included in the 3 year (156 weeks) averaging period.

These weeks are recorded with zero hours if they were unpaid weeks.

Unpaid leave that does not count towards service

Excluding the above mentioned unpaid leave - any full week where a worker has taken unpaid leave (therefore zero hours worked during that week), these weeks do not count as service. These week of unpaid leave will need to be made up in order to reach the required 10 years of continuous service (7 years pro-rata).

The weeks of unpaid leave are removed from the calculation and replaced by a working week.


Sally is a casual employee. Yesterday Sally's workmates surprised her with a 10th anniversary morning tea in celebration of her long service working at Bunches Florist.

Sally approached her employer to discuss when a suitable time would be to take her long service leave entitlement.

When working back through Sally's time sheets for the past 156 weeks, Sally and her employer discover:

  • Sally took 4 weeks of unpaid leave when her mother was ill 18 months ago
  • there were four separate weeks where Sally did not work any shifts
  • Sally took 2 weeks leave without pay to go on a holiday.

Sally must make up the 6 weeks she took on unpaid leave before she is entitled to long service leave (leave without pay does not count toward long service leave accrual). She does not have to work the additional four weeks where she was not rostered on for shifts. These weeks will be calculated as 0 hours in the calculation.

Once Sally is eligible for long service leave in 6 weeks time, and in order to calculate Sally's entitlement correctly, Sally's employer needs to go back 162 weeks (156 + 4 + 2) to find the 156 working weeks required for the averaging calculation.

Calculating payment

To work out your entitlement you will need:

  • your employment start date
  • current rate of pay
  • payslips or record of hours worked for last 3 years
  • your expected long service leave date or termination date
  • any periods of leave without pay that you have taken
  • any periods of long service leave already taken.

A casual worker’s long service leave entitlement is based on the average of all hours worked, including overtime hours, in the 3 years (156 working weeks) immediately prior to taking long service leave.

Casual workers are paid their long service leave entitlement at their current base hourly rate of pay which includes the casual loading (but does not include overtime rates, shift premiums and penalty rates).

For each worker, the employer must at intervals of 12 months, calculate the average number of hours per week worked by the worker over the preceding period of 12 months. So you should be able to get your average number of hours per year from your employer.

To calculate a casual worker’s weekly hours and payment:

Total hours worked over 3 years (156 weeks)  ÷  156
This will give you the worker’s average hours per week, then calculate:

Average hours per week  @  current base hourly rate of pay
This will give you the weekly wage you need to pay the worker

The main point to remember is that you need to calculate all the hours worked in the 3 years (156 working weeks) immediately prior to taking long service leave.


Steve works as a waiter and is employed on a casual basis. Steve’s current hourly rate of pay (not including overtime, shift premiums and penalty rates) is $25 per hour.

Steve has completed 10 years’ service and would like to take some long service leave. To work out his entitlement whilst on leave, Steve will need to average the number of hours he has worked over the preceding 156 working weeks and multiply that number by his current hourly rate of pay.

Steve looks at his payslips and notes that he has worked the following hours over the last 3 years:

1st year – 1000 hours

2nd year – 1440 hours

3rd year – 980 hours

To average:

  • add all three totals together and divide by 156, then
  • total hours per week x $25 = $548.08 per week

Whilst on long service leave, Steve will be entitled to be paid $548.08 per week. This number becomes Steve's ordinary weekly rate of pay whilst on long service leave.

Rounding calculations

When calculating the averages for a casual worker, you will need to take into consideration any decimal places. Do not round any number until the final calculation as this could impact the worker's actual entitlement.

Step-by-step guide for calculation of long service leave entitlement

Download our Long Service Leave calculation form to help work through this step-by-step guide.

Step 1:

Review worker’s time records for the last 156 weeks (3 years × 52 weeks).

Note down:

  • the number of hours worked each week including overtime
  • any calendar weeks where the worker was on unpaid leave or was receiving workers' compensation.

Step 2:

After working back the initial 156 weeks, keep working back one (1) week for each week where the worker did not work due to unpaid leave or was being paid through a workers' compensation claim.

Step 3:

Add up all the hours worked in the 156 worked weeks.

Step 4:

Divide this total number of hours by 156.

This will give you the number of hours to be paid per week of long service leave. Do not round this number up or down.

Step 5:

Multiply the number of hours per week by the workers current base hourly rate (including the casual loading).

This will give you the amount the worker needs to be paid per week of long service leave.

Questions about your long service leave?

If you have read all of the long service leave information on our website and you still have questions or concerns about your entitlements, please complete our long service leave form.

Page last updated: 22 April 2022