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ACT in Focus by Jo Huxley, February 2024

With the ACT Disability Hot Topics Breakfast on soon, the hottest topic is the NDIS Review and what it means for providers.
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Ticket sales open for the 2024 WA Disability Support Awards Ceremony

Join us for an exciting night celebrating individuals and teams who go beyond ordinary standards of service to support people with disability.

Seeking your feedback on Victorian Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme

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What you need to know

  • The Victorian Government is reviewing the Victorian Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme.
  • The terms of reference include a review of the scope of the scheme, user experience with the scheme, and whether any regulatory or legislative amendments are required to meet its original purpose.
  • NDS is developing a submission and would like your comments.
  • The Portable Long Service Authority has responded to NDS with further clarification about the scope of the Scheme as it applies to disability services.

The Victorian Long Service Benefits Scheme allows workers in disability services and other sectors to accrue long service entitlements and transfer them from job to job. 

In our initial consultation with service providers, we received feedback that the scheme is costly and perceived to have little benefit to organisations and their capacity to retain workers. Feedback from providers also indicated that the scheme is administratively burdensome, difficult to navigate for employers, and not user-friendly for employees.  

We also identified a lack of clarity around the scope and applicability of the scheme within disability organisations, with confusion around whether senior executives and supported employees are covered by the scheme.  

Three years into the scheme, Industrial Relations Victoria are conducting a review and members are free to make a submission on their website. The terms of reference include reviewing the scope of the scheme, the user experience, and whether any regulatory or legislative amendments are required to meet its original purpose. 

NDS is developing its own submission and would like your comments. 

Recently, to assist employers in the disability sector to better understand their obligations under the scheme, NDS sought clarification from the Portable Long Service Authority. The authority has admitted that some of their messaging and information may have resulted in under-registration for the scheme, with a correction posted in the authority’s e-newsletter in March of 2021.  

The Portable Long Service Authority has now clarified that workers under the Supported Wage System are covered by the Supported Employment Services Award 2020.  

Workers covered by one of the following five awards are considered to be employed under that award even if an enterprise agreement exists in the workplace.  

  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 
  • Children’s Services Award 2010 
  • Educational Services (Teachers) Award 2010 
  • Labour Market Assistance Industry Award 2020 
  • Supported Employment Services Award 2020 

The Authority notes ‘the awards are very broad and cover most workers in the sector, including clerks, administrative and managerial staff, and support workers.’ 

Furthermore, workers on an individual agreement common law contract or employed under the National Employment Standards are still eligible if one of the community services sector awards covers them.  

The updated information and factsheets on the authority website give more clarity on the coverage within community services. More information is being developed for specific issues within the disability services industry. Where under-registration may have occurred, the authority will work directly with service providers, so all workers can receive their entitlements and for employers to meet their obligations without penalty. 

This information will inform our submission to the enquiry, but we will also need your experience with the scheme. Please send any feedback to our Senior Policy and Project Officer Workforce Lourdes Zamanillo by 21 April. 

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Lourdes Zamanillo, Senior Policy and Project Officer Workforce, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number