Daniel McNamara, Graduate Associate and Rocio Paradela, Graduate Associate
Businesses that operate in Victoria need to be mindful of recent legislative changes in this jurisdiction. Two areas subject to change in Victoria are changes to long service leave entitlements and the new labour hire licensing framework.
Long Service Leave
The Victorian Parliament has passed new long service leave legislation, replacing the existing Long Service Leave Act 1992 (Vic) (the “LSL Act“). The provisions are likely to become operational later this year.
What are some of the major changes?
- Employees will be entitled to take long service leave after completing seven years’ continuous employment instead of 10 years.
- Both paid and unpaid parental leave will count as service (other than in the case of a casual or seasonal worker).
- An employee can request to take long service leave for a minimum period of one day, although an employer may refuse such a request if the employer has reasonable business grounds to do so.
- Continuity of service will not be broken where a casual or seasonal employee:
- takes up to two years’ parental leave (whether paid or unpaid);
- obtains the employer’s agreement in advance to an absence;
- has a break which is impacted by seasonal factors; or
- has been engaged on a regular and systematic basis and has a reasonable expectation of being re-engaged.
In addition, if an employee’s working hours have changed during the two years immediately before taking long service leave, the employee’s normal weekly number of hours is the greater of: the average weekly hours worked over the past 52 weeks (one year), 260 weeks (five years) or the last period of continuous employment.
Criminal liability has been established with respect to breaches of a number of obligations under the LSL Act. This includes where an employer takes adverse action against an employee because the employee is entitled to long service leave or other entitlements under the LSL Act.
The LSL Act also provides for accessorial liability of certain officeholders of a corporation where they are shown to have been knowingly involved in the commission of an offence by the corporate entity.
Labour Hire Licensing
Victoria is continuing the trend of other states, such as South Australia and Queensland, with the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic) (the “Licensing Act”) receiving Royal Assent on 26 June 2018.
What are some of the major changes?
Similar to labour hire licensing legislation in other Australian states, the core features of the Licensing Act include:
- the mandatory licensing of labour hire organisations operating within Victoria;
- the requirement of labour hire licensing organisations to meet a “fit and proper person” test to ensure that minimum standards are met;
- penalties imposed on non-compliant labour hire organisations and on individuals/organisations engaging with non-compliant labour hire organisations; and
- the establishment of a Labour Hire Licensing Authority (based in Bendigo) and the Office of the Labour Hire Licensing Commissioner.
A Federal labour hire system?
The Federal Labor party has promised, as an election pledge, to introduce a uniform federal scheme that would guarantee the same pay and conditions for labour hire workers as award-covered employees throughout Australia. In addition, under this model, labour hire organisations would need to demonstrate compliance with relevant workplace legislation (including the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and tax, superannuation, WHS and immigration laws) in order to maintain a license.
If you require any advice as to how these legislative changes may affect you or your organisation, please feel free contact People + Culture Strategies on (02) 8094 3100.