Aged care and waste workers to get portable long service leave

May 3, 2016

Aged care and waste management workers in the ACT look set to become eligible for portable long service leave as part of a growing scheme to be approved by the Legislative Assembly.

As the federal budget dominates national political debate on Tuesday, the ACT Assembly is expected to vote for an extension of the existing portable long service rules, created in 2009, to benefit workers in aged care and waste facilities.

Industrial Relations Minister Mick Gentleman said the changes would mean all employees were recognised for hard work during their careers. Photo: Jamila Toderas

The vote will bring the entitlements of workers in the sectors in line with those workers in construction in Canberra, contract cleaning, community service agencies and security services. Residential aged care and community aged care workers will be covered, along with garbage collectors and sorters at nominated waste management facilities.

The plan will also allow the Long Service Leave Authority to make minor adjustments to employer levies to meet economic circumstances of the relevant industries. The authority's governing board will be given the power to adjust the levy rate charged to employers for long service benefits, but won't be obligated to do so.

ACT Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations Minister Mick Gentleman said the areas covered by the portable scheme included those with higher rates of short-term employment, as well as contract work positions, part-time, high-mobility and casual employment.

The new rules, some to come into force from July 1, will see about 6,000 more people in the ACT become able to accrue long service leave, many who receive low average salaries, he said. It could also help attract new workers to the sectors.


"One in five workers in Australia have been with their current employer for less than one year, and three out of four will work for their current employer for less than the 10 years required to attain long service leave.

"This means there is an erosion of leave entitlements overall," Mr Gentleman said.

"Although long service leave has applied to most employees since the review of the National Employment Standards in 2010, workers in industries with high levels of short-term employment have been disadvantaged having to work for just one employer to be eligible for long service leave."

Mr Gentleman said the changes would mean all employees were recognised for hard work during their careers.

"Aged care workers earn $43,000 on average for back breaking, emotional work. This legislation provides them with a hard earned break every 5 years.

"This scheme also benefits the general community by attracting workers to the aged care industry, given the ACT's aging population."

A small technical change will also be made to existing rules for the construction sector.

The plan will modify the definition of what building and construction work is, in order to exclude prescribed award agreements and apply some entitlements retrospectively.



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