More options for long service leave in public health

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It is a source of confusion and frustration for NSW nurses and midwives working in public health, whose contracted working hours have changed during their employment, to find they are subjected to an averaging calculation to determine the payment to be used when taking long service leave (LSL).

This can result in a payment that does not equate to your contracted hours when taking LSL. For example, a nurse who has worked several years part- time and then becomes full-time will not receive the full-time rate when taking LSL. That is, their varying contracted work hours are subjected to the averaging calculation to determine the LSL payment figure.

Following extensive discussions between the Ministry of Health and public health unions, the Ministry released IB2018_059 at the end of 2018, which sets out some additional options. In short, if you want to be paid at your current rate (which is higher than the calculated averaged rate) you can but you will use up more accrued LSL. This is not dissimilar to the principle involved in taking LSL at double pay. Equally, if your current rate is lower than the calculated averaged rate, you can remain on your current rate and use up less of your LSL accrual.

It is entirely voluntary and you are free to nominate the option you wish, or have some calculations done prior to making a final decision. In addition, if you elect one option this year, it does not mean you have to do the same next time.

This article was originally published in the Ask Judith section of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association publication, The Lamp.

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