Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2989 ..
Thursday, 21 August 2003
MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
Long Service Leave Legislation Amendment Bill 2003
Ms Gallagher, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.
Title read by acting clerk.
MS GALLAGHER (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.32): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, the bill that I am tabling today is both a response to and a recognition of the changing nature of the ACT's workforce. The increasing casualisation of the workforce has changed the traditional patterns of employment for more and more workers. Workers are increasingly mobile, meaning that it is now unusual for many workers to stay working for a single employer for an extended period.
The ACT has three statutory long service leave schemes in addition to the schemes that are created by federal industrial awards and agreements. The bill that I am tabling will amend all three statutory schemes.
The proposed amendments to the Long Service Leave Act 1976, Long Service Leave (Building and Construction Industry) Act 1981 and the Long Service Leave (Contract Cleaning Industry) Act 1999 will ensure that public holidays are not counted in periods of long service leave: that is, there will be an additional day's leave for each public holiday that falls within a period of long service leave.
By amending all three schemes in the same way we will ensure a consistency of entitlement for the territory's workers across all three of the territory's long service leave schemes. The proposed changes will have the additional benefit of aligning entitlements under the territory's long service leave scheme with the long service leave entitlements that exist under similar legislation in New South Wales. If agreed by the Assembly, the changes will end an employment anomaly between ACT and New South Wales workers, making it fairer for workers and employers who work across the ACT/New South Wales border.
A further amendment to the Long Service Leave Act 1976 will address another inconsistency with existing ACT and New South Wales legislation around access to pro rata long service leave entitlements. Currently under the Building and Construction Industry Act 1981 and the Long Service Leave (Contract Cleaning Industry) Act 1999 and the New South Wales Long Service Leave Act 1955 workers are able to access pro rata payments of long service leave entitlements after five years of service with employers. Employees are usually entitled to long service leave pro rata payments if they are retrenched.