We recently saw the passing of the Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018 bringing Victoria more in line with other Australian states and territories.

Portable Long Service Leave for workers in the construction industry in Victoria has been in place since 1976 and is administered by CoINVEST Limited. This latest legislation relates workers in the contract cleaning, security and community services sectors.

On the legislation’s commencement 1 July 2019, workers in these sectors will be able start accruing service as long as the individual remains within the industry performing covered work.

It will be funded by levy payments made by employers that are pooled into a central fund that pays long service entitlements to workers. The levy is expected to be around 1.7 per cent of gross wages (and will be capped at a maximum of 3 per cent).

The Victorian Government is currently developing an information and communications campaign to inform employers and employees of their rights and obligations under the scheme and further information will be made available ahead of the scheme’s commencement. The Victorian Government will also establish an authority to oversee the Long Service Benefits Portability scheme.

The legislation outlines a number of new employer obligations:

  • employers in the relevant industries will be required to register their businesses and employees, including casual and contract workers
  • employers will be required to provide a quarterly return to the authority detailing the names, total pay and number of days worked by eligible workers during the quarter
  • details record keeping requirements
  • sets out penalties for non-compliance.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says in a recent publication that it has consistently opposed a new portable long service leave scheme on the basis that it will increase the cost of labour without delivering any corresponding increase in productivity. “It will result in additional indirect administration costs and red tape for employers. These additional costs will discourage employment.”

Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos is quoted in their Media Release “The new laws will enable people who have worked, often at the same job, for more than seven years to take time off with their families like so many other Victorian are entitled to do. This is bringing fairness and equity to Victorian workers in contract cleaning, security and the community services sector.”

To find out about long service leave entitlements, contact the long service leave agency in your state or territory visit the Fair Work Ombudsman www.fairwork.gov.au.

Hall Chadwick Melbourne will share more about portable long service benefits as new information comes to hand.