The Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme has been established to ensure that workers in the community sector still receive long service entitlements when they change jobs but remain in the community sector. The Scheme is a Victorian Government initiative administered by the Portable Long Service Authority and will apply to many organisations in the youth sector.
Are you struggling to get your head around how this applies to you? This blog post explains which organisations and employees may be included in the Scheme.
Who Is Included in the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme?
Any ‘community service employer’ who hires employees that perform any type of ‘community service work’ may be included in the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme. This includes casual, part-time and full-time employees.
What is Community Service Work?
The Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme includes a list of activities that are considered ‘community service activities’. These activities are used to determine the types of employers and employees that will be included in the Scheme. The list of activities includes:
Community development services
Support services for persons with a disability or persons who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or in crisis
This list is very broad and is likely to include most of the activities typically performed by youth workers and youth sector organisations. The full list of activities can be found in a recent Guidance Note published by the Authority.
Who is a Community Service Employer?
The Scheme defines a community service employer as:
a non-profit entity that employs one or more individuals to perform community service work; or
an entity for-profit that employs one or more individuals to perform community service work for persons with disability.
Community service employers that are included in the Scheme must register on the Portable Long Service Authority website as soon as possible (the actual deadline was 30 September 2019).
The Scheme excludes a number of organisations as community service employers:
State and Federal Government
Public statutory bodies
Public health services
Public hospitals under the Health Services Act
This means that municipal councils, government or for-profit entities that perform youth services and community service work will not be included in the Scheme.
Employees will only be included in the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme where their role predominantly includes the performance of community service activities. This is defined as the ‘predominance test’ by the Authority.
Individual employees will satisfy the predominance test when their role includes the performance of community service activities for the majority of their working time. This includes all the activities that the employee performs, not just the activities included in their formal position description or employment contract. Employers and employees should consider the types of activities they perform with reference to the list of community service activities.
The Portable Long Service Authority has stated in a recent Guidance Note that the scope of the predominance test includes employees who perform community service activities in direct contact with clients, and also employees who, at an organisational level, support those who deliver front-line services. This means that employees who perform administrative and managerial activities may be included in the Scheme if they predominantly enable and support other employees who directly perform community service activities.
Employers are required to complete the first quarterly return before the end of October 2019, and will be required to pay a levy as part of their quarterly return every three months. The quarterly levy is equivalent to 1.65% of the ordinary pay of all employees included in the Scheme. Employers and employees will receive access to an online portal that will enable them to pay the quarterly levy and view their entitlement to long service benefits. There is no cost to register with the Portable Long Service Authority.
Employers and employees can learn more about the Scheme by visiting the Portable Long Service Authority website. You can also contact YACVic on (03) 9267 3700 or email@example.com for advice and support.
The information in this blog post is general information only and is not legal advice.