Draft legislation introducing portable long service leave in certain industries is currently being debated in the Victorian Parliament.

The Bill is seeking to introduce portable long service leave benefits in the following industries:[1]

  • the community services sector;
  • the contract cleaning industry; and
  • the security industry.

According to the Government, the legislation will allow workers an entitlement to long service leave after working in their industry for seven years, irrespective of how many employers they have worked for over that time.[2]

A statutory authority will be created to manage the scheme, known as the “Portable Long Service Benefits Authority” (Authority).[3] This Authority will be responsible for administering the Act and keeping a register of employers for the relevant industries.[4]

The general position is that for applicable employees, employers will need to pay a levy based on the “ordinary pay” of each employee (as defined in the Act). This levy will be payable quarterly to the Authority.[5] The levy will not exceed 3% of the ordinary pay.[6] The Act contains different provisions for certain other types of workers, for example, contract workers in the contract cleaning industry.

Employers in the relevant industries will be required to be registered[7] and must keep long service records.[8]

Portable long service leave in Victoria is not new. The “CoInvest” portable long service leave scheme has been operating in the construction industry in Victoria since 1976.

Employers in the relevant industries should keep up to date with the progression of this legislation and applicable obligations.

Changes to the Long Service Leave Act 1992 (Vic)

The Victorian Government is also seeking to amend the Long Service Leave Act 1992 (Vic) (Act).  The proposed changes include:

  • An entitlement to long service leave after 7 years, if an employee’s employment continues on foot, instead of after 10 years (currently, pro rata long service leave is paid after 7 years, only if the employment ends).[9]
  • Amendments to the meaning of continuous employment, so that employees may take more than 12 months of, among other things, unpaid parental leave, without their entitlement to long service leave being affected.[10] Currently, the limit on unpaid parental leave, for service to be considered continuous, is 12 months.[11]
  • Provisions allowing an employee to request to take periods of long service leave for not less than one day,[12] providing employees with greater flexibility in how their long service leave may be utilised.

Employers should keep up to date with the changes and update employment documentation, including policies and contracts, if necessary.