See Fair Work Act 2009 s.22
Service is a period during which an employee is employed by an employer, but does not include certain excluded periods (see below).
Continuous service is a period of unbroken service with an employer by an employee.
As continuous service was not clearly defined in the Fair Work Act the Fair Work Commission has decided that the term should be given its ordinary meaning.
Periods of unauthorised absence, certain types of unpaid leave and certain types of unpaid authorised absence do not count as service and are considered to be excluded periods.
An excluded period does not break an employee’s continuous service with their employer. However, it does not count towards the length of the employee’s continuous service.
In other words, section 22(3) of the Fair Work Act deems that in some circumstances, service that is not continuous can be considered continuous depending on the reasons for the periods of absence.
The following periods will break an employee’s continuous service with their employer and may result in a new period of employment for re-engaged employees:
 Butterworths Australian Legal Dictionary, 1997, at p. 263.
 Holland v UGL Resources Pty Ltd T/A UGL Resources  FWA 3453 (McCarthy DP, 23 April 2012) at para. 20.