Victorian Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme FAQ
- Learn more about the Victorian Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme's eligibility criteria and compliance requirements
Who is this for?
Finance Managers, HR Managers, Payroll Officers, CEOs, Senior Leaders, and Executive Managers with services operating in Victoria
Victorian Portable Long Service Leave FAQ
The Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme (PLSL) allows workers in community services to take their long service entitlement with them if they change jobs but stay in the industry.
From 1 July 2019, businesses with workers in community services must register with the Portable Long Service Authority, which administers the Scheme. Community services providing children's services or activities funded by the NDIS are required to register from 1 January 2020.
Over the years, NDS has been actively liaising with the Portable Long Service Leave Scheme Authority (PLSLA) to bring further clarity to employers regarding the scheme’s eligibility criteria and administrative implementation.
On 20 October 2023, we held an online information session that interested parties can watch. In addition, we have compiled the following FAQs for your convenience.
- Can employees of a community services employer opt out of the PLSL scheme?
- Should managerial and administrative staff be included in the scheme?
Any staff covered by one of the five eligible awards must be included in the scheme.
The five awards are:
- the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010
- the Children's Services Award 2010
- the Educational Services (Teachers) Award 2010
- the Labour Market Assistance Industry Award 2020
- the Supported Employment Services Award 2020
The Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 is broad in its coverage, and therefore administrative, finance and executive staff, if covered by that award, are seen to be covered by the Scheme.
- Should supported employees be included in the scheme, even if they don’t perform community services work? Yes. Any staff covered by one of the five eligible awards must be included in the scheme.
- Are sole traders considered employees under this scheme?
In Community Services, there is no facility for sole traders to register themselves.
- Are self-managed NDIS participants who employ staff to perform community service work such as home care support considered employers for the purposes of the scheme? If so, how does this work?
Yes, they register using their ABN as would any employer or by contacting the Authority if they do not have an ABN and do have a WPN. This only applies to self-managed participants as workers providing support services to plan managed participants will be registered by their service provider who is their employer.
- What if an employee is paid under an Enterprise Agreement with higher leave benefits than the PLSL Scheme?
Any enterprise agreement and individual contract will be underpinned by the Award they are covered by. Those provisions will still be in place concurrently with the PLSL scheme. In this cases, the employer must cover the shortfall between the PLSL Scheme rate and the enterprise agreement. It is important to note that employers must comply with PLSL obligations despite the existence of different enterprise agreement and they must keep records for both schemes. The worker can choose whether to claim portable long service leave benefits at 7 years or to forego said benefits for the enterprise agreement’s alternative. If a worker decides to forego the PLSL benefits, the employer can seek a reimbursement from the Authority for the duplicated time.
- Are employees added to the scheme from the business date of registration or should they be backdated? If they should be backdated, should they be backdated to their commencement with the employer or to the commencement date of the PLSL scheme date?
Employees should be backdated back to the point when they became eligible for the scheme.
- If an employee is paid for various services including some non-community services, should these hours be excluded from the quarterly returns?
Yes, Health services (as defined in section 3(1) of the Health Services Act 1988) and residential aged care are not classified as community services work for the Scheme and should be excluded.
- When an employee reaches their seven years in the sector, can they choose to take leave or the cash benefit?
The PLSL scheme is only a cash benefit. If the employee wants to take leave, they should reach an agreement with their employer to take leave without pay.
- What happens if an employee takes a break from the industry?
A worker is allowed to leave the industry for up to four years. If they return to the industry, they will continue to build up their portable long service entitlements. So, for instance, if a worker takes a three-year break, they will take ten years to reach seven years of industry service.
- What happens if an employee doesn’t come back to the industry or if their break is longer than four years?
The employee loses their entitlements. The contributions remain in the fund for the benefit of all workers. There is no refund of levies.
- Who is responsible for paying the super guarantee charge (SGC) when an employee is paid portable long service leave?
Employers are responsible for paying the SGC. The PLSLA does not meet the definition of an employer under the applicable legislation, therefore, the PLSLA does not pay superannuation or payroll tax when it pays a claim under the Long Services Benefits Portability Act 2018.
- How can employees claim their LSL?
Employees can claim their LSL by submitting a claim form to the Authority or through their employer. If they choose to claim through their employer, the employer must pay the benefit to the worker, report and record this as such in their next quarterly return, and fill a reimbursement claim form through the portal. They will then be reimbursed by the PLSLA.
- Do employees get their LSL paid out at their current hourly rate or by the sum of the contributions paid on their behalf?
The benefit will equal 1/60th of the worker’s total hours worked less any long service benefit paid. The amount of the benefit is calculated based on the worker’s ordinary pay at the time the application for payment is made.
- Why do reimbursements take long to be processed?
The current size and scope of the PLSLA mean that reimbursements often take time to be processed due to capacity issues. The Authority has identified this issue and is looking to improve it.
- If an employee reaches their seven years in the sector but has been with their current employer less time, is their current employee responsible to pay the full payment for those seven years?
The employee can only claim their benefit directly from the Authority in this case. It is only of an employee has been with an employer for the full seven years that they can choose to take the benefit from the employer and the employer is reimbursed by the Authority.
- How will employers know if the employee claims straight from the PLSLA?
The Authority will notify the employer.
If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out directly to the PLSLA. The Authority can be contacted at 1800 517 158 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. The team at NDS is also happy to assist. For any enquiries, please contact Lourdes Zamanillo, Senior Policy and Project Officer, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number.