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Victorian cleaners win portable long service

Victorian cleaners and security workers will have access to portable long service from next year after legislation was passed in state government on Wednesday, 5 September.

Under the Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018, workers will be entitled to long service leave or benefits after working for seven years in their industry, irrespective of the number of employers they have worked for over that time.

The Bill also establishes a statutory authority to manage the scheme with an employer and an employee in a covered industry required to be registered. Employers will contribute no more than three per cent of ordinary pay to fund the scheme.

In 2016, a Parliamentary Inquiry into Portability of Long Service Leave Entitlements final report described the current rules as “inequitable” for cleaners and guards, and recommended Victoria establish a scheme.

A ReachTEL poll, commissioned by United Voice, of 1029 residents across Victoria in June 2016 revealed 68.8 per cent support for a portable long-service scheme.

Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins said the new laws are bringing fairness and equity to Victorian workers in contract cleaning, security and the community services sector.”

“The new laws will enable people who have worked, often at the same job, for more than seven years to take time off with their families like so many other Victorian are entitled to do.”

Jess Walsh, United Voice Victorian Secretary said it is life changing reform for cleaners and guards.

“Victoria would grind to halt without these workers. They work around clock, year in, year out, keeping our buildings clean and safe, but too often their loyalty and dedication went unrecognised. That changes today,” Walsh said.

Retired cleaner at the Premier’s Office in Treasury Place Sam Ismaili also welcomed the reform.

“In my 37 years cleaning the Premier’s Office I wasn’t able to take long-service leave once,” Ismaili said.

“Cleaners and guards have fought for portable long service leave for a long time because it will make a big difference.”

“All the cleaners at my site and across the state are so happy about this.”

The new laws will commence in the middle of 2019.

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