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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 6 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2032..

Debate (on motion by Mr Pratt ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Long Service Leave Legislation Amendment Bill 2008

Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.57): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, this bill has two objectives: firstly, to amend the Long Service Leave Act 1976 to simplify the eligibility and administration of long service leave in the private sector; and, secondly, to amend the Long Service Leave (Building and Construction Industry) Act 1981 to address an anomaly concerning employer reimbursements in the building and construction industry portable long service leave scheme.

In 2005, the Long Service Leave Act 1976 was amended to change the eligibility period for long service leave from 10 years to seven years. However, the calculation of entitlement is still determined in five-year blocks once the initial seven-year eligibility period has elapsed.

This has led to the situation that those choosing to take their entitlement in the last two years of the existing five-year entitlement block find themselves disadvantaged in comparison to the pre-2005 model. Under the pre-2005 legislation, employees choosing to take long service after 10 or 11 years of service would be entitled to 8.67 weeks of leave. However, as a result of the 2005 amendment, employees choosing to take long service leave after 10 or 11 years of service are currently only entitled to 6.07 weeks of leave. This represents an entitlement loss of approximately 2 1/2 weeks as they are not entitled to further leave until at least 12 years have elapsed.

This bill will remove this disadvantage to those under the current legislation by amending the act to remove the five-year entitlement blocks and to provide that long service leave entitlements will now be accrued and made accessible to employees on a year-to-year basis after the initial seven years of service. This will allow employees to take their long service leave at any time after the initial seven years of service without being disadvantaged when compared against the pre-2005 model.

Significantly, this proposed amendment will be creating a better entitlement without adding cost to employers. This is because the act currently provides, at part 2, section 11B, that an employee must be paid out pro rata long service leave for any service of between one and five years after the initial seven years of service when they cease employment for any reason.

As such, the amendment would simply be changing the timing of eligibility for the entitlement and in effect provide for the possibility of an additional 4.3 days of leave

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