Australia: What employers need to know about upcoming changes to long service leave in Victoria

Victoria introduces new Long Service Leave Act 2018 (Act)

In our previous post here, we discussed the proposed changes to existing long service leave entitlements for Victorian employees.

Since then, minor amendments to the Bill were introduced and on 8 May 2018 the Victorian Parliament passed the Long Service Leave Bill 2017 (Vic). The Bill received Royal Assent on 15 May 2018 and the Act will commence by 1 November 2018.

The Long Service Leave Act 2018 (Vic) will allow employees to apply to take long service leave after seven years’ service. Any period of paid parental leave, and up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave, will count towards an employee’s length of continuous service, and no amount of parental leave will break continuity of service. However, the rate that long service leave accrues under the new Act will not change.

In a Media Release here, Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins has stated: “The new Long Service Leave laws are a huge win for women, parents and carers across Victoria.”

These changes will impact all employees in Victoria, unless they are specifically excluded from the operation of the Act. The changes will apply to any requests to take long service leave after the commencement of the Act (being no later than 1 November 2018).

Click on the image below for a summary of the major changes to long service leave entitlements in Victoria:

The full text of the Long Service Leave Act 2018 (Vic) can be found here.

New portable long service leave laws soon to follow

A Bill introducing portable long service leave in the contract cleaning, community services and security industries within Victoria is currently being debated in Parliament.

The Victorian Labor Government introduced the Long Service Benefits Portability Bill 2018 (Vic) on 27 March 2018. The Bill has passed the Legislative Assembly and is now being debated in the Legislative Council, with the second reading speech being moved last week on 8 May 2018.  The proposed commencement date is 1 April 2019.

The Bill seeks to provide long service leave entitlements to workers in the contract cleaning, community services and securities industries, who perform essentially the same role under various contracts after working for seven years, irrespective of the number of employers that the individual works for over that time.

Employers in these industries will be required to register themselves and their employees and contractors with the Portable Long Service Benefits Authority, who will manage the scheme. Employers will pay a levy based on the ‘ordinary pay’ of each employee to finance the payment of entitlements.

There is already a portability scheme in place in the construction industry in Victoria. Certain industries in New South Wales, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory also have portability schemes in place for workers.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the Bill and keep you informed of further developments. The full text of the Bill currently being debated and the Explanatory Memorandum can be found here: Long Service Benefits Portability Bill 2018 (Vic).

This article was written by Ewa Lobaza, Solicitor, Melbourne. If you have questions or would like some initial advice on how these legislative developments might impact your business, please contact us.

Anthony Wood
Anthony Wood
Partner, Melbourne
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+61 3 9288 1544
Melanie Smith
Melanie Smith
Senior Associate, Melbourne
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+61 3 9288 1139

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Australia, Terms of employment contracts, Working hours (including holiday, sick leave, overtime, rest breaks), Workplace flexibility and family-friendly rights

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