Carers, cleaners notch milestone in long service leave revolution

By Our Reporter
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Representational image. Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary on Unsplash

A landmark reform to provide portable long service leave in industries where short-term contracts and movement between employers are common has achieved a major milestone, breaking through 200,000 registrations in little over 30 months.

More than 211,000 workers in the community services, contract cleaning and security sectors have joined the Victorian Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme since the scheme’s launch in 2019.

Previously, many workers weren’t eligible for the benefits of long service leave as they shifted from one short-term contract job to another. Some 2,600 employers now pay a levy to ensure their workers can retain their long service standing if they move to a new employer in the same industry.

Two out of three members of the scheme are women, who have long been over-represented in low-paid jobs with limited long-term security.

The same proportion of scheme members—140,000 employees—work in the community services sector in roles such as family violence prevention, disability support, accommodation services and home care, and in providing support for cultural and linguistically diverse communities.

Some 48,000 scheme members work in contract cleaning while 23,000 members are security workers.

Workers are eligible to claim their portable long service leave entitlement once they complete seven years of service after joining the scheme.

Portable long service leave doesn’t affect a worker’s right to traditional long service leave – the difference is that after joining the scheme, all service in the industry from that time will count towards their long service leave, even if it’s for different employers.

The Bendigo-based Portable Long Service Authority manages $150 million in funds accrued to pay worker portable long service benefits. Employer contributions of 1.65-1.80 per cent of a worker’s wage are invested by the Authority with the Victorian Funds Management Corporation.

Workers can get more information on portable long service leave by calling 1800 517 158, emailing enquiries@plsa.vic.gov.au or visiting plsa.vic.gov.au.


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