The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly recently passed the Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Amendment Act 2016 (ACT), which commenced with effect from 1 July 2016.

The Act has significant ramifications for the aged care sector within the ACT because it makes portable long service leave available to those working in residential and community aged care services by bringing them within the scope of the ‘community sector industry’ for the purposes of the Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Act 2009 (ACT).

How does the scheme work?

Long service leave is generally available to a worker after they have completed a lengthy qualifying period of service with a particular employer. That is not the case, however, where portable long service leave operates. In that situation, movement from employer to employer within an industry will have no impact on an employee’s qualifying period for long service leave because their service with all employers in that industry will count when determining their long service leave entitlement.

In the ACT, the portable long service scheme for the ‘community sector’ (which, from 1 July 2016, includes residential and aged care services) is administered by the ACT Long Service Leave Authority. That Authority collects levies from employers to administer the scheme.

What should you do?

Employers providing residential and community aged care services in the ACT will need to register with, and pay a levy to the Authority. In addition, they will need to periodically provide particular information to the Authority in respect of their workers so that the Authority can calculate and determine workers’ long service leave entitlements.