If the following information does not resolve your question, please get in touch with us.
We are receiving enquiries about the possibility of accessing accrued leave early due to COVID-19 causing reduced work hours or inability to work.
Unfortunately, this is not possible. Early access is only available as prescribed by the legislation.
The black coal mining industry portable long service leave benefit is governed by an Act of Parliament. Coal LSL is the regulator of the benefit and does not have power to act contrary to the legislation.
The legislation prescribes who can access entitlements and when they can be accessed. Briefly, eligible employees must complete 8 years of qualifying service to access their benefit, the only exceptions to this timeframe being for redundancy (minimum 6 years), retirement (minimum age 60), ill health or incapacity. Unfortunately, the legislation does not provide for early access to long service leave benefits beyond the prescribed situations.
Please refer to the legislation if you’d like more detail.
If your question is around taking your accrued leave at half pay to extend the duration of your leave, please refer to the employee FAQ, Can I take my leave at half pay?
If you do not meet any of the prescribed conditions for accessing accrued long service leave and your work hours or ability to work are being impacted by COVID-19, speak with your employer regarding personal or annual leave.
You may also wish to visit the Australian Government website for supports available to those being adversely impacted by COVID-19 as well as the latest COVID-19 news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia.
Coal LSL genuinely empathises with the concern and impacts around COVID-19 and hopes this current situation passes quickly.
We are following Australian Government directives regarding safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have been practising social distancing since it was first prescribed, along with the recommended frequent hygiene practices.
We have ceased face-to-face meetings, conducting interactions by alternative options such as phone, videoconference and online chat.
We would like to assure you that we are operating as close to normal as possible and are still available to you by all contact methods. However, we apologise in advance for any delays to our usual service response times as we navigate alternative ways of working and connecting.
Many of our staff are now working from home. We wish to reassure you that staff have been briefed in maintaining data privacy during the period we are required to work from home.
We acknowledge that we find ourselves in extraordinary times and as we navigate these uncharted waters, we understand that the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 may make it difficult for employers to submit their Levy Advice forms, levy payments and annual audit reports according to schedule.
If your usual timelines are being impacted by COVID-19, we request that you notify us of when you expect your submission(s), that are currently due, to be completed. Alternatively, you’re welcome to reach out to our Employer Relations team about your specific circumstances.
Please visit the Australian Government website for supports available to businesses and individuals who are being adversely impacted by COVID-19.
All eligible employees working in the black coal mining industry are eligible for long service leave. It includes people:
An 'eligible employee' is defined in the legislation as a person who is:
If you're unsure of your/your employee's eligibility, please get in touch with us.
An 'eligible employee' is a person who is:
The definition of eligible wages in section 3B of the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Collection Act 1992 is specific about which amounts are included e.g. in some circumstances an employee’s overtime or penalty rates and other allowances are eligible wages. Refer to the legislation for details.
Qualifying service is service as an ‘eligible employee’ of one or more employers. It does not include certain absences such as unpaid or unauthorised leave.
After you have accrued eight years of qualifying service, you have a long service leave entitlement. An entitlement remains until you have accessed it.
If you don’t have eight years of qualifying service and you stop being an eligible employee for eight continuous years or more, any service before this break is no longer considered as qualifying service.
However, if you recommence work as an eligible employee with any employer after a break period of less than eight continuous years, your service from prior to the break period will still be considered qualifying service.
If your employment ceases for reasons such as redundancy, retirement, ill health or death, other provisions may apply to enable early access to your long service leave entitlement. For more detail about qualifying service, refer to Part 5A – Entitlement to long service leave, Division 1, Section 39A of the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Administration Act 1992.
Employees may grant access to their spouse/partner or other trusted third party to access information about their long service leave record on their behalf.
This involves a process of validating: employee approval; third party contact details; third party access level. Access level may involve permission to only obtain information or to also make changes to the employee record.
The employee must initiate this process using the relevant form (for an individual or for an organisation); these are available under the Employee Resources panel.
Some employees can choose to make a ‘waiver agreement’ with their employer instead of accruing leave, depending on the nature and duration of their role in the black coal mining industry. A waiver agreement is a mutual arrangement between an employee and an employer to waive their long service leave accrual. Instead of accruing leave, they can be paid, or salary sacrifice into superannuation, the leave levy that their employer would have paid for them. This agreement must be approved by Coal LSL.
The Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Administration Act 1992 (Part 5A) defines who can make waiver agreements. They include an eligible employee:
Pro‑forma waiver agreements are available under Employer Resources.
Coal LSL has been using some terms, such as termination and cessation, interchangeably for some time.
However, ‘termination’ can mean different things in different legislation. Also, an employee may cease work or become an ‘ineligible employee’ regarding access to long service leave, but not always because they’re being ‘terminated’ by their employer. Instances where an employee may cease to be eligible can include leaving the Australian black coal mining industry, retirement, redundancy, death or changing positions into a role which does not fit the definition of an eligible employee.
Therefore, we’re in the process of aligning some terms to current long service leave legislation for consistency and clarity. These terms are changing:
There are many documents and locations where this needs to be updated so you may see both terms used until we complete the work.
The Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Administration Act 1992, along with other legislation, specifies:
When your employer advises us that you are an eligible employee, you are given an individual long service leave number known as your LSL Number.
This number is used for all interactions about your leave record and is required for logging into the employee self-service portal.
If you ever forget your LSL Number, contact our friendly Service team who will be happy to assist.
When you first register with Coal LSL you are given your unique LSL Number and a temporary password to access the self-service portal. The login details are sent separately to your initial welcome letter, for security reasons. Your LSL Number is used to login to the portal, as well as the password, which you should change at first access. If you lose your login details, contact us for a reminder.
Coal LSL is working on improvements that enable employees to view their leave accrual information online through the self-service portal.
We’ve completed the technology upgrades. However, the most time consuming stage involves detailed data quality checks for more than 110,000 eligible employees in the black coal mining industry. You can imagine, this a big job! It’s underway; however, we still have a little way to go.
This means that some employees can currently view their leave accrual information when logged into the portal. Please note that when an update is reported by an employer, your information will temporarily be unavailable while we process the update.
We are progressively working through verifying leave entitlement information for the remainder of employees.
We want to provide you with reliable information that’s as current as possible so please bear with us while we complete the improvement.
If your leave accrual information is not available when you log into the employee portal, you can email us or call us on 1300 852 625 from Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 5:00pm (AEST).
In order to administer entitled long service leave funds for you, your employer must be registered with Coal LSL. All administration of the scheme is conducted through your employer.
You accrue leave credits for each week during which you are an eligible employee.
Each week you work in the black coal mining industry as an eligible employee counts towards your qualifying service. After eight years’ qualifying service you accrue 13 weeks’ long service leave entitlement.
Each week you work in the black coal mining industry as an eligible employee counts towards your qualifying service. Entitlement accrues at a rate which reflects the number of hours worked each week. The maximum accrual is the equivalent of a full-time employee.
You accrue qualifying service in each week you’re employed at any time as an eligible employee. It accrues at a rate which reflects the number of hours worked each week. The maximum accrual is the equivalent of a full-time employee.
If you meet the definition of eligible employee, you’re entitled to take leave after eight years of qualifying service.
Qualifying service is service as an eligible employee of one or more employers. It does not include certain absences.
For service since 1 January 2000, all service as an eligible employee counts towards your qualifying service, unless you stopped being an eligible employee for eight continuous years or more (a break period). In most cases, any service before a break period will stop being counted as qualifying service.
For service prior to 1 January 2000 to count towards your qualifying service, it must be ‘continuous service’.
If you have eight years’ qualifying service (continuous or in total) as a full-time worker, you’re entitled to 13 weeks’ leave.
If your service (or part of it) was as a part-time or casual worker, you’re still entitled to leave after eight years’ qualifying service. However, the amount of leave you’ll receive is based on the leave credits you’ve accrued over your eight years of qualifying service.
All interactions about your leave application are conducted through your employer.
To access your long service leave entitlement, you must submit an application through your current or most recent employer. Once your desired leave period is agreed with your employer, they will lodge the application with us.
When we've validated that your service history reflects the minimum qualifying service, we'll notify your employer who will pay your leave entitlement. Your employer then claims reimbursement from the Coal LSL fund after you've taken your leave.
Occasionally we’re asked whether employees can take their long service leave at half pay to extend the duration of their leave. In brief: this matter is for discussion between an employee and their employer.
Coal LSL’s role is it validate the hours requested for a long service leave period, but how your employer makes the leave payment is by agreement between your employer and yourself.
If you wish to claim long service leave but your employer is no longer registered with us or no longer a registered business, please get in touch with us.
The Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Administration Act 1992 provides your minimum entitlements for long service leave, which are:
A range of options are available for accessing your leave when your employment changes and may vary according to your individual circumstances:
Missing service is any service you have worked as an eligible employee which is not reflected in your Statement of Service held by Coal LSL.
If you think your record may be missing some of your qualifying service, you can apply to have this matter investigated by Coal LSL.
Refer to the Service Review information for details about eligibility to apply and the review process.
Only the legal personal representative of a deceased employee may make leave accrual enquiries and lodge a claim through their last known employer, in accordance with the legislation (Part 5A, Division 3, Section 39CC of the Administration Act 1992).
Your legal personal representative must make a request in writing to your last employer to pay out any unclaimed accrued leave.
The employer will submit an Entitlement Application along with a certified copy of the official Death Certificate, and liaise with Coal LSL to verify your outstanding entitlement. Your employer must pay out any accrued leave hours to your legal personal representative within 30 days.
The long service leave scheme is legislated under the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Administration Act 1992 (the Act).
Employers of eligible employees have legal obligations to ensure those employees can access their long service leave entitlements when eligible to do so. Obligations include, for example:
In addition to matters such as eligibility and entitlement, the legislation addresses:
Non-compliance and breaches of the Act can lead to civil or criminal penalties against an employer and, in certain circumstances, its officers.
Coal LSL has the power to seek civil penalties up to the value of 300 penalty units*. Coal LSL can also require people to produce information or documents relating to the employment of an eligible employee or which Coal LSL needs to perform its functions.
Civil proceedings may also be brought by an employee, employee organisation or industrial association for breaches or potential breaches of the Act. The Court may order compensation, injunctions or other orders.
Fair Work Australia also has power to deal with certain disputes between an employer and an eligible employee in relation to leave.
* NB. Penalty units are defined by legislation under subsection 4AA(1A) of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and are subject to change. See the current civil penalty unit rate.
If you employ people who fit the definition of ‘eligibility’, you are legally obligated to register your business with Coal LSL. More information and registration form.
If your business is in the process of closing, going into liquidation or no longer operational, you need to de-register with Coal LSL. Please get in touch with us to facilitate that process and to learn what obligations you still have to fulfil under the legislation as part of your close-out processes.
The Employer Reimbursement rules outline how Coal LSL calculates reimbursement amounts payable to employers under the Act.
The current rules came into effect on 1 July 2017. Under these rules, on administration approval, an employer will be reimbursed in full for a reimbursement claim.
Employers are only able to claim and be reimbursed for the actual amount paid to the employee for their long service leave entitlement.
The long service leave levy is based on your employee’s eligible wages. What makes up each employee’s eligible wages is defined in section 3B of the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Collection Act 1992. The levy is payable monthly and, effective 1 July 2018, is 2.0% of eligible wages.
To ensure fund sufficiency, every three years we seek advice from an actuary on the adequacy of the levy rate. In 2017 Coal LSL engaged Mercer Consulting (Australia) Pty Ltd (Mercer) to complete the review. The review determined that the fund was in a strong financial position, which provided us the ability to reduce the levy. For the first time in nearly a decade, the levy rate was reduced from 2.7% to 2.0%.
The change to payroll regulations was supported by our responsible minister and completed the required parliamentary review.
A change in levy rate does not impact employee long service leave entitlements or reimbursements to employers.
Levy rates through time
The legislation provides the minimum entitlements for long service leave, which are:
The changes to the legislation in 2012 are documented in the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Administration Act 1992 (the Act).
The key changes were:
Coal LSL is working towards an online processing environment. In future, employers will be able to submit leave applications, cancellations and levy advice forms online via the employer portal.
To prepare for this change, we’ve introduced a leave cancellation form and process that enables us to capture all the information we need to process a cancellation quickly. We understand that plans can change and the new form and process ensure all parties have a record of that change.
In future, you'll be able to complete and submit this form online. We’ll keep you informed of changes as things progress.
You can access the form from Employee Resources under the Employer Resources panel.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) is not applied to levy payments. Long service leave levies are neither goods nor services. Levies are not a taxable supply under the GST legislation, therefore, we do not issue tax invoices. Your Levy Advice forms, details of submission and proof of payment should be retained for record keeping purposes.
Only the legal personal representative of the deceased may make leave accrual enquiries and lodge a claim through the deceased’s last known employer, in accordance with the legislation (Part 5A, Division 3, Section 39CC of the Administration Act 1992).
An employer must pay any unclaimed leave entitlement to the deceased’s legal personal representative within 30 days of a written request. Use the deceased employee Entitlement Application to initiate the process with Coal LSL. It is located under Employer Forms in the Employer Resources section of the website. A certified copy of the official Death Certificate must be provided with the application.
Once payment is made, you can claim reimbursement of the amount through the usual leave reimbursement process.
An audit report is a document provided to Coal LSL once a year to provide certainty that employers have been correctly calculating and paying the levy and claiming reimbursement on behalf of their eligible employees during that year.
Audit reports must be submitted within six months of the employer’s end of financial year.
Submission of levy and reimbursement information to Coal LSL by employers does not include detail regarding how the eligible wages of employees are determined or how the amount to be reimbursed has been determined.
The independent audit process is intended to review this information and to identify any errors in calculation or misinterpretation of the legislation.
Non-submission of an audit report in the required timeframe is a breach of the governing legislation.
There are civil and criminal penalties for failing to provide an audit report as required by the Collection Act.
An employer who fails to provide the report within 6 months of the end of financial year commits an offence and may be subject to a criminal penalty, currently up to the value of 30 penalty units for an individual.
Alternatively, Coal LSL may choose to pursue civil penalties against an employer, currently up to the value of 40 penalty units for an individual or 200 penalty units for a body corporate, for failing to provide the report.
If the report is likely to be late, we suggest that you contact our audit team.
Penalties are defined in penalty units. The number of penalty units applied is dependent on the offence. Penalty units are defined by legislation under subsection 4AA(1A) of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and are subject to change. See the current civil penalty unit rate.
It is the responsibility of the employer to obtain an audit report and pay any fees associated with its provision.
Coal LSL does not provide advice regarding appropriate fees for provision of audit reports but is able to discuss the audit report requirements with prospective auditors to allow for appropriate scoping and costing of their services.
An audit report can be completed either by the company’s auditor (as required under the Corporations Act 2001) or by an independent accountant who holds appropriate qualifications, professional memberships and insurances.
The person completing the audit must not be an employee of the entity being audited or involved in the preparation and payment of levies to or claiming of reimbursements from Coal LSL, for the period being audited.
Ideally, this person would be entirely separate from the employer being audited. However, a person may still be considered independent if their separation from the levy and reimbursement process is quantified. Examples might include:
In all cases, the audit report should note and explain the independence of the auditor.
No. The purpose of the audit report is to check the correctness of levies paid (and consequently calculation of eligible wages) and of reimbursements claimed.
Should you wish to discuss the eligibility of your or your client’s employees, please contact our Client Engagement team.
An auditor should review the client records to determine whether the client has:
The calculation of eligible wages will vary depending on the employment arrangement of each employee and is described in Section 3B of the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Levy Collection Act 1992.
The calculation of a claim for reimbursement is completed in accordance with The Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave Administration Act 1992 and the Employer Reimbursement Rules 2017. Links for legislation.
You can find a guidance note on the calculation of eligible wages and additional information about claims for reimbursement within our website. Alternatively, you’re welcome to contact us with your question.
An annual audit report provides an auditor’s opinion as to whether an employer has paid the correct levy amount (including any additional levy) and claimed the right reimbursements.
Any issues with levy advices and payments discovered during auditing must be detailed in your audit report as described in our support materials.
Important note regarding casual employees: legislation requires employers to report and pay a levy on ALL hours worked and paid to eligible casual employees. When carrying out your audit, please check that your organisation has reported on, and paid a levy for, all hours worked by its eligible casual employees. Errors result in incorrect levies paid, which will need to be remedied.
The method of review is defined by the auditor completing the work. The auditor will need to be satisfied that they have reviewed sufficient information to provide an opinion on the correctness of the calculations made.
No, Coal LSL will accept one audit report covering all levies paid and reimbursements claimed up to the end of the current financial year. However, this report should include a breakdown of the years covered and the amounts paid and/or claimed in each year.
Any errors identified during auditing should be explained and quantified in the audit report provided to Coal LSL.
The report should be submitted as soon as it is completed. Any errors identified will be resolved following receipt of this document.
The employer is responsible for ensuring that the required corrections are actioned as soon as possible. This may require the submission of adjustment levies, reimbursements or requests for refunds. The required forms are available on our website. However, should you have any questions, please contact us.
Coal LSL does not provide advice or endorsement regarding auditors. However, we are able to discuss the audit report requirements with prospective auditors to allow for appropriate scoping and costing of their services.