The Victorian Government has honoured its commitment to introduce a portable long service leave scheme in the community sector, including disability services.
In 2010 the Victorian Government introduced a similar scheme but it didn’t pass through Parliament before the November election that saw the Liberals come to power.
Unions did not give up and maintained that pressure to introduce portable long service leave in an industry where changing funding arrangements mean jobs come and go long before employees have been there for 10 years.
The Long Service Benefits Portability Bill 2018 will establish a scheme with the following features:
- Anticipated commencement of 1 April 2019 with application to all service from that date
- Cash benefit paid to an employee based on years of service in the community sector, not with a particular employer
- Benefit administered by an independent authority
- Amount of the benefit to be similar to the Long Service Leave Act 1992
- Breaks between employment allowed for up to 4 years.
Most AEU members in the disability services sector are entitled to more long service leave than the Long Service Leave Act 1992, about 12.5 weeks after 10 years in disability services compared to 8.67 weeks for other workers.
There are several complex legal and administrative problems the Government will need to resolve to accommodate that difference.
Disability sector employers are strongly opposed to the scheme and have been lobbying the Government to withdraw the Bill.
They are using the same arguments about NDIS funding arguments that are being used to cut conditions across the sector.
The Bill has passed the lower house but it’s not so clear how the cross bench members in the upper house will vote. The AEU is coordinating its lobbying efforts with Victorian Trades Hall Council to make sure the Bill gets through.