Continuous service is defined under the Fair Work Act for various provisions including qualifying periods of employment (for relief from unfair dismissal), notice periods, severance entitlements in the case of redundancy, parental leave and flexibility requests.

Service will be deemed to be continuous notwithstanding certain authorised absences, such as annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, parental leave, public holidays, etc. Some types of unpaid leave and absences from work, although authorised, may nonetheless not count towards continuous service for the purposes of the Fair Work Act.

Excluded Periods

Continuous service does not include the following absences (an excluded period):

  • Any period of unauthorised leave (e.g. engaging in industrial action or absent from work for a period contrary to a direction made by an employer); and
  • Any period of unpaid leave (e.g. parental leave, unpaid carer’s leave, leave without pay (other than community service leave), or a period of stand down where the employee is not using paid leave entitlements).

An excluded period does not break an employee’s continuous service with the employer, but does not count towards the length of the employee’s continuous service.

Transfer of Employment

Continuous service with one employer may also count as service with another employer if the employee is a transferring employee in relation to a transfer of business.

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The information provided in this knowledge base article is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.

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