Portable Long Service Scheme to cover all disability services
- The scheme is to begin from 1 July 2019, and will include non-NDIS funded activity from that time.
- Draft regulations include all disability services from 1 January 2020.
- NDS continues to have strong concerns regarding the impact of the scheme on disability service providers, many of whom continue to struggle with NDIS pricing.
- NDS encourages providers to give comment on the draft regulations (particularly regarding the inclusion of NDIS-funded activities) before 31 May 2019.
The Portable Long Service Scheme will include all Victorian disability services from 1 January 2020, according to draft regulations released on Friday for public comment.
Currently, the legislation stipulates that, from 1 July 2019 when the scheme is set to begin, NDIS-funded activities are exempt from the scheme. If the draft regulations remain unchanged, this will only be the case until 1 January 2020, at which point all disability activities (both NDIS-funded and funded from other streams) will be considered in scope.
What you need to know about the scheme:
- The scheme has been set up to allow employees in the Community Services, Contract Cleaning and Security sectors to accrue and retain Long Service Benefits as they move between employers.
- The Portable Long Service Authority is being established to administer the scheme. Affected employers will be required to register with the Authority from 1 July 2019, and to contribute a levy quarterly to a fund, at a rate to be determined by the Authority (the rate cannot exceed three per cent of the employee's ordinary pay).
- Once the employee leaves their employer and starts with another employer in the sector, their balance stays with them, until they can 'cash it out' at seven years.
- In the Community Services sector, the entitlement accrued is paid out (by the Authority) as money, as opposed to leave. It is then up to the employee to apply for Leave Without Pay in order to use the benefit as leave.
- There are stipulations in the legislation and the draft regulations which deal with 'double-dipping', to ensure employees are not able to access the Long Service benefits under this scheme in addition to Long Service Leave under another scheme or act.
- For the Community Services sector, the scheme is prospective and not retrospective.
The draft regulations are accessible at the Victorian government website for public comment until 31 May 2019.
NDS has previously lobbied strongly for the exclusion of all disability services from the scheme, due to a number of concerns, including the scheme posing additional costs for Victorian providers, which are unable to be passed on to clients due to NDIS price caps, impact on organisational cash flow, and administrative burden. These concerns continue to stand.
NDS will be making a submission and would encourage members to get in touch with any feedback. The scheme will also be a topic of discussion at the upcoming Workforce Members' meeting. We would also encourage providers to make their own comments directly to government, particularly in response to the inclusion of NDIS-funded activities from 1 January 2020.
A website has been established for the scheme, which NDS understands will provide more information including FAQs.