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Portable Long Service Leave Scheme: What you Need to Know
The Queensland Government has this month passed the Community Services Industry (Portable Long Service Leave) Act 2020 (QLD) (the “Act”) to extend portable long service leave to workers within the community services industry. To access the legislation, go to https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2020-019
While the commencement date of this portable long service leave scheme is yet to be established by the Queensland Government Office of Industrial Relations, employers operating in this space may be required to apply for registration following the commencement of the Act and within 28 days of becoming an ‘employer’ as defined in the Act.
Under this scheme, a long service leave levy will be imposed on the ordinary wages for each “worker” in the “community services industry”. While the levy is yet to be set by the regulations, it has been announced by the Queensland Government in a media release that the current proposed rate is 1.35%.
The Act provides for the establishment of the Community Services (Portable Long Service Leave) Authority and will require businesses operating in this sector in Queensland to register with QLeave. Employers operating in this space will need to consider the specific provisions of the Act to determine whether their business and workers are included within the scope of this new scheme.
The scope of this portable long service leave scheme, in particular the definition of “community services industry”, an “employer” and a “worker”, is considered below.
The “Community Services Industry”
The “community services industry” is defined in the Act as the industry in which entities provide community services in Queensland. “Community services” includes the following:
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community services
• accommodation support services
• advocacy services
• alcohol and other drug services
• child safety and support services
• community development services
• community education services
• community legal services
• counselling services
• disability emergency response services
• disability support services
• employment services
• family and domestic violence services
• family day care services
• financial counselling services
• Foster care and out-of-home care services
• home and community care services
• homelessness support services
• lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex services
• mental health services
• migrant and multicultural support services
• offenders transitioning services
• respite services
• seniors community support services
• social housing services
• violence prevention services
• women’s services
• youth justice services
• youth support services
It is important to note that additional services may be included in the Regulations and should be considered in determining whether a business is providing “community services” for the purpose of the scheme.
The following entities will be deemed to be an “employer” under the Act:
• an entity established for, or with purposes including, the provision of community services that engages an individual;
• an individual who is self-employed and provides community services; and
• a provider of labour hire services that supplies an entity mentioned above with an individual to perform community services work for the entity.
For the purpose of this scheme, an “employer” does not include the Commonwealth, the State or Local Government.
Similarly, additional entities may be included or excluded in the regulations and as such will need to be considered in determining whether an entity is an “employer” under the scheme.
A “worker” under the Act is an individual who is:
• engaged by an employer to perform community services work; or
As “community services work” is defined as work to provide community services or support the provision of community services, the definition of ‘worker’ will include individuals in administrative support roles.
An individual who is a member of a class of individuals prescribed by applicable regulations will be excluded from the definition of worker.
Next Steps for Businesses
Businesses operating in this sector can register “interest” with Q-Leave to receive updates on the commencement of this new portable long service leave scheme.
As penalties can apply if an “employer” fails to register within 28 days of becoming an “employer” under the Act, businesses should consider their obligations under the Act and be prepared for the commencement of the new scheme.
To read about the legislative position on long service leave between organisations read here.