Quarter of a million essential workers set to benefit under proposed long service leave reforms

Quarter of a million essential workers set to benefit under proposed long service leave reforms Main Image

Wednesday, 27 March 2024

Up to 250,000 community sector workers would see their leave rights expanded under a landmark draft bill released today by the NSW Government for consultation.

The reforms will allow community sector workers to access long service leave sooner and accrue leave based on time employed in the sector, rather than time employed by a single employer.

Workers in disability care, family and domestic violence services, homelessness services and many other essential services will benefit from the reform.

The move responds to the rise of insecure work in the disability and community sectors and forms part of the Government’s commitment to attract and retain key workers in NSW. Community services workers across NSW are known for their dedication to promoting social inclusion and wellbeing.

However, many workers face issues such as stress, burnout, and job insecurity, with high levels of casualisation. Information provided by employers suggests a portable leave scheme will help to address these issues.

And 75 per cent of the 250,000 strong social services workforce in NSW are women.

Key elements of the scheme include:
• offering paid long service leave after seven years, rather than 10 years
• allowing workers to accrue long service leave across multiple employers within the sector (leave is portable). Under existing rules, community service workers lose their long service leave if they change employer, despite the nature of the sector seeing workers frequently shift between employers or working for multiple employers.
• having one central agency administer long service leave, including records and leave payments

Our plan will bring NSW in line with other jurisdictions (ACT, Victoria and Queensland) that have already established portable leave schemes for these sectors. NSW cannot be left behind and must value these essential workers.

A draft of the Community Services Sector (Portable Long Service Leave) Bill 2024 and a regulatory impact statement outlining the proposed model is now available for public consultation.

The public consultation opened on 26 March 2024 and is due to close on 30 April 2024.

To make a submission or complete a short survey on the proposed scheme, visit nsw.gov.au/have-your-say.
02 7225 6000 52 Martin Place Sydney NSW 2000 GPO Box 5341 Sydney NSW 2001 


Minister for Work Health and Safety Sophie Cotsis:

“Community sector workers are often on short-term contracts with multiple employers and do not have access to long service leave, despite some working in the sector for more than a decade.

“By basing long service on time employed in the sector, workers will be able to accrue long service leave no matter how often they change jobs, providing an added incentive to choose and remain in the sector

“A portable entitlements system aims to reduce the high level of staff turnover among community service workers, provide these essential workers with greater financial security and improve the level of care provided to clients.

“Whether you are a worker, employer, or someone interested in the scheme, I encourage you to have your say on how we can build a fair and robust scheme that better supports our community and disability service sectors in NSW.”