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Portable long service leave... at last
by ASU and Western Homelessness Networker.
11th October 2018


LONG SERVICE BENEFITS PORTABILITY BILL 2018
Questions & Answers


When does the scheme start?
The scheme commences on 1 July 2019.

Now that the Bill has passed, what happens next?
The body that will oversee the new scheme will now need to be established ahead of the scheme commencement on 1 July 2019.

There will also continue to be meetings with the implementation working group that will look at issues including what the regulations that go with the legislation will look like. The regulations are important because they will, amongst other things, determine what other groups of workers can enter the scheme. The ASU are part of the implementation group.

Will my past work history be recognised?
Unfortunately there is no retrospective element to the scheme for community service workers. However you will still have the service that you have accumulated with your current employer recognised under the current long service leave state act or relevant enterprise agreement. If you change employer after 1 July 2019 then your service will be recognised through the scheme.

How does the accessibility to long service leave change for a worker leaving a Community Health centre to work in a non-community health employer in the sector?
Under current, pre portability arrangements they would lose their accrued service and the Community Health centre would not have to pay out its accrued liability. Under the new scheme if you change employers to another employer bound by the scheme you will have your service recognised.

This is a “cash” scheme. What does that mean?
Due to technical issues regarding the interaction between state and federal legislation, there is no requirement under the proposed scheme that a worker take a period of leave to correspond with a benefit being taken under the scheme. The worker makes application to the Authority for payment, not to their employer. This payment makes it possible for the worker to take a period of leave in negotiation with their employer.

My work is covered by the NDIS. Am I covered by the scheme?
The short answer is, not yet. The Liberal Coalition opposition pushed for and were successful in getting an amendment to the Bill that amended the definition of 'community service work' so that it excludes:

(a) An activity that is funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme within the meaning of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 of the Commonwealth, unless such an activity, or class of activity, is prescribed to be community service work;

This is one of the reasons why the regulations are so important. We will continue to fight to make sure that ASU members employed within the NDIS are brought into the schemes soon as possible.

How does an employer know who is covered and who is not?
It is a requirement of the Commonwealth Fair Work Act that employers keep records during the employee’s period of employment, and for seven years after employment ends. There is a similar existing requirement in Victoria’s Long Service Leave Act.

Therefore, every employer should know which of their employees are performing work that could be described community service work.

Who is an employer for the purposes of the scheme is set out in the community service Schedule that is part of the Bill. If you or your employer has any doubts as to whether you are covered by the scheme, they will be able to seek advice from the Authority.

If you are entitled to portable long service leave under your EBA as well as being covered by the scheme can you choose to take your long service leave partly as cash and partly as leave?
You can claim under the two different schemes for two separate periods of employment, but you cannot take a benefit from both schemes for the same period of employment (a ‘no double-dipping principle’ applies).

The choice of benefit will be dependent on your personal circumstances. However, as the EBA scheme generally provides a higher benefit, it is expected that you will access that scheme wherever possible.

If you reach your entitlement to portable long service leave under your EBA but your employer has been paying contributions into the authority for only two years how does it work?
You could apply to take long service leave under your EBA in which case the employer would pay the Authority your salary (however defined in the EBA) during the period of leave. The employer can make application to the Authority for a reimbursement of levies for the overlapping period of service (in this case, two years' worth)

What will the levy be?
The levy will be set by the Governing Board (although it cannot be greater than 3%).
Modelling for the community services sector suggests it will be around 1.5 - 1.7%.
This amount is paid by your employer and is not a payment that you have to make.

For further information please contact:
ASU Member Contact Centre | 1300 855 570 | info@asuvictas.com.au

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