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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Long service leave in the NSW building and construction industry

Employers need to be aware that there are two long service schemes that may apply to the NSW building industry.

There are two long service schemes that may apply to the NSW building industry:

  • Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Act 1986 (NSW) (Portable Scheme)
  • Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW) (State Scheme)

Portable versus normal long service leave?

Due to the project based nature of the building and construction industry, it is unusual for someone to work with the same employer for 10 years. To ensure building and construction workers have the opportunity to access similar entitlements, the Long Service Corporation set up the Portable scheme in the late 1970s.

The scheme covers both employed and self-employed workers who perform building and construction work in NSW. The scheme rewards long service to the industry rather than long service to a particular employer.

Under the State Scheme, after working for the same employer for 10 years an employee will be entitled to long service leave.

It is important to note that an employee is only entitled to a benefit (payment or paid leave) under one of the schemes (for example, an employee may be employed by same employer for 10 years, he cannot get a payment from the Portable Scheme and take long service leave from his employer).

What do employers need to know?

The portable scheme only covers workers that perform building and construction work on or offsite. This includes workers who directly supervise building and construction work, providing they physically perform work . The scheme does not cover workers who perform office/ administrative tasks such as estimators, architects, designers and engineers.  These workers are covered by the State Scheme.

It is a requirement under the Portable Scheme for all employers of workers who perform building and construction work within NSW to register with the Corporation as an employer and to notify the Corporation of a worker’s commencement, service, and cessation of employment. 

Within 7 days of a worker starting, employers need to complete and lodge a Start Notice for all workers covered by the scheme (whether they are already registered or not – if not already registered, the Corporation will register the worker).

Unlike other schemes, employers do not pay direct contributions for their employees and there is no cost to workers or employers to join the scheme.  The scheme is funded by a 0.35% levy payable on building and construction works in NSW valued over $25,000, usually when plans are approved by local councils and before the commencement of construction work (prior to building approval). Generally, the building applicant, or the person for whom the work is being done is responsible for paying the levy.

Pro rata leave entitlements

If the employment relationship ends:  Portable Scheme State Scheme
After 55 days of service

The employee may be entitled to a payment if the employee:

  • is 55 years old and is leaving the industry permanently
  • is unable to work in the industry ever again, because of illness or injury
  • dies
After 5 years of service An employee may be entitled to a payment if the employee stopped during building and construction work

An employee may be entitled to a payment equal to the proportionate amount of 2 months for 10 years service if the employment relationship was terminated:

  • by the employer for any reason, other than the employee's serious or wilful misconduct, or
  • by the employee on account of illness, incapacity or domestic or other pressing necessity, or by reason of the employee's death
After 10 years of service but less than 15 N/A The employee will be entitled to a proportionate amount on the basis of 3 months for 15 years service

How to join

To register as an employer under the Portable Scheme you must complete a registration form, which can be obtained by calling 13 14 41 or on the Corporation’s website www.longservice.nsw.gov.au The Start Notice for new employees can also be filled in online or lodged in paper form. 

What happens after you notify the Corporation of a new employee starting?

Each July employers are required to complete an Employer Return, either online or paper form. The return provides details of all workers recorded as being employed. Employers need to check details and provide details of each employee’s service (and indicate whether any of those workers have since ended employment, and identify any employees not on the return). 

There is an obligation to notify the Corporation via an End Notice of an employee’s termination, within 7 days of the employee’s termination. 

For more information call your Workplace Advisor on 1300 650 620.


For an employee to fall within the Portable Scheme they need to be either doing work or directly supervising work that has its minimum rate of pay fixed under one of the following modern awards:

  • Asphalt Industry Award 2010 [MA000054].
  • Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010 [MA000020].
  • Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010 [MA000025].
  • Joinery and Building Trades Award 2010 [MA000029].
  • Mobile Crane Hiring Award 2010 [MA000032].
  • Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2010 [MA000036].
  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010 [MA000010] (but only to the extent which it relates to performance of work as a carpet layer).


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