Long Service Leave, the Labour Market, and Portability of Entitlements
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In this article we examine the case for the portability of long service leave (LSL) entitlements. Proliferating flexibility in employment arrangements increasingly leaves workers without coverage of employment provisions based on tenure with a single employer. An historical analysis of developments in LSL in Australia, including implementation of portable schemes in particular industries, and an analysis of labour-market trends are undertaken. We argue that the restriction of LSL to long-term employment with a single employer is anachronistic in the modern labour market. Nevertheless, LSL remains an important entitlement in the context of the contemporary labour market—perhaps more so than previously—even if the arguments in support of LSL have generally shifted in emphasis as a result of changes in the labour market. We conclude that a general entitlement to portable leave would deal with current inequities with respect to access to LSL. It would particularly assist in reconciling employers’ demands for flexibility with employees’ demands for protection.