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Media Release: Improving access to Long Service Leave for working Canberrans

November 26, 2019

Workers in Canberra will have improved access to Long Service Leave after the Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Amendment Bill 2019 was passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly today.

The amendments will ensure the ACT’s portable schemes for long service leave will continue to operate effectively for the benefit of both covered workers and employers.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety, Suzanne Orr said the ACT Government was being pro-active to ensure working people are able to access their hard-earned long service leave entitlements.

“Unfortunately, modern contract and project based employment arrangements have meant that workers in some industries, through no fault of their own, have been unable to accumulate and access long service leave,” Minister Orr said.

“We also know that phoenixing activity can create a barrier for working people to access their Long Service Leave entitlements as well as placing an unfair impact on employers who do comply with their obligations to pay their long service leave levies.

“The ACT Government has today made legislative changes to improve the performance of the ACT long service leave schemes, including by making them more accessible to workers and covered employers and by improving  education, compliance and enforcement activities,” Minister Orr concluded.

The Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Amendment Bill 2019 passed today will provide for:

  • better compliance and enforcement tools, as well as regulatory incentives to ensure that levies, which support the long service leave entitlements of workers under the scheme, are paid in a timely way;
  • more flexibility in crediting unrecorded service of a worker under the scheme, which will allow workers to benefit from the years of service they give in their chosen industry of work;
  • an ability for the Long Service Leave Authority to recover levies where there is evidence of phoenixing behaviour that results in levies being unpaid to the scheme because of the deliberate actions of directors, actions that unfairly require other complying employers to foot the bill for levies owed to the scheme; and
  • updated terminology which better reflects the work of early childhood educators. No longer referred to as child care workers, the changes acknowledge the important job these workers do in educating our children at a crucial stage of development.

The changes will commence on 1 January 2020.

Statement ends