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Portable long service leave laws hit Victoria

Alison Baker and Gemma Hallett

Community service, cleaning and security employers in Victoria need to ensure they are compliant with recent changes to long service legislation in the state which could present complex challenges, two lawyers have warned.

Hall & Wilcox partner Alison Baker and lawyer Gemma Hallett have flagged changes to long service leave (LSL) entitlements for employers in the community services, contract cleaning and security industries from 1 July 2019.

While long service leave entitlements are generally provided after seven years of continuous employment with one employer, the new provisions see workers accruing portable long service leave based on their length of service within the areas covered by the legislation, rather than their length of service with one employer.

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Businesses employing workers across the three areas impacted by the Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018 (Vic) were required to register with the Portable Long Service Authority before 30 September 2019, and are now liable to pay a quarterly levy to fund the scheme.

According to Ms Baker and Ms Hallett, the new law matters because “it requires employers to make significant changes to the way they record and fund LSL for certain workers”.

If an employer breaches any requirements of the act, it can be liable to pay a penalty of up to $19,826 and be guilty of a criminal offence.

Alongside registration and levy payment, the lawyers flagged that employers must lodge quarterly returns for each employee and keep substantive records for their workers as laid out by the legislation.

The employment lawyers noted that compliance with the act is compulsory and brings in “a number of changes that present complex challenges for employers”.

Employers are unable to contract out of the portable LSL entitlement, nor their obligations to register, pay the levy, lodge returns or keep records.

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However, the lawyers acknowledged the existence of “important” exceptions for workers who:

• are covered by a federal award or workplace agreement where that award or agreement contains its own LSL provisions, including the Aged Care Award 2010; or
• are provided with LSL entitlements under another act or regulation, such as the CoINVEST scheme for workers in building and construction.

“Even employers who do not generally operate in the community services, contract cleaning or security industries — but who employ some staff who predominantly carry out community services, contract cleaning or security work — must comply,” they warned.

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Portable long service leave laws hit Victoria
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