Better long service leave for community workers

The NSW parliament has passed a reform measure that aims to ensure up to 250,000 community service workers will have access to portable long service leave benefits.

Community service workers are involve involved in sectors such as domestic and family violence support, homelessness services, community housing and other community services. More than 75% of such workers are women.

The current system restricts community sector workers to gaining long service leave only after working for 10 years for a specific employer.

But many such employees go from one short-term contract to another, and therefore lose all their accrued long service leave when they switch employers.

Under the new system, these workers will now have their long service leave based on how long they have spent in the overall sector rather than time spent with a single employer.

Community service workers will now receive 6 weeks paid leave after 7 years of employment in the sector, regardless of how often they change employers.

The reform enables casual and part-time employees to access the entitlement after the equivalent time (calculated on a pro-rata basis).

The system will operate in a similar way as that which already exists for contract cleaners and the construction sector, who have their employer contributions administered by the Long Service Corporation. Rather than budgeting to cover for long service leave, employers will pay a levy to the Long Service Leave Corporation to cover their obligations.

“The NSW Government is proud to deliver a landmark reform for community service workers who have been campaigning for years to access portable long service entitlements,” said the NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, Sophie Cotsis.

“I have met many of these workers who push themselves in jobs that can be emotionally exhausting and that takes a toll.

“A huge thanks to the ASU, NCOSS as well as my officials for their diligent hard work over many months to ensure this groundbreaking reform.”

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