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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3752 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

feelings and views that the government held initially in relation to this matter; but we believe, to the extent that we have negotiated these amendments, that a compromise has been reached. It is a compromise which my officials and I are happy to work with. Once again I thank members, acknowledging that Mrs Dunne does make some comments with which I have some sympathy. Nevertheless, we have arrived at a compromise position with which the government is happy. I thank members for their support in the way in which this particular matter has been dealt with.

Amendments agreed to.

Remainder of bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Long Service Leave Legislation Amendment Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 21 August 2003, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR PRATT (5.54): Mr Speaker, we will support the bill. We do not have anything that we need to raise or argue. With that in mind, I will dispatch it forthwith and sit down.

MS TUCKER (5.54): The Greens will be supporting this bill. The bill changes some entitlements in terms of pro rata payments in situations of redundancy and the preservation of public holidays when they occur during long service leave. In the first instance, the bill adjusts the pro rata entitlement under the Long Service Leave Act so that, if people are made redundant, their pro rata long service leave entitlement kicks in after five years, rather than seven years. The accountancy standards require employers to cover long service leave entitlements from five years in any event, so it ought not to be an impost on them.

This provision echoes the situation in New South Wales. While other states more generally offer pro rata leave on redundancy after seven years, a shift nationally to a five-year standard is being mooted. It is worth pointing out that ACT employees, even after 10 years service, are only entitled to 81/2 weeks pay in any event, whereas many of the other states offer 13 weeks, so it is not as if ACT employees are getting an easy ride here.

The other provision in this bill ensures that the Long Service Leave Act and the building and construction industry and cleaning industry schemes are all adjusted to mirror New South Wales provisions which reimburse employees their public holiday benefits if they take long service leave over a period that includes public holidays. Clearly, if you took 81/2 weeks off over March and April it would include Easter. Under the existing system, you would thus get long service leave of only about eight weeks. Given that arrangement, most employees presently take their leave in the second half of the year and in the end that is inconvenient for employers as much as it is for employees. All things considered, it seems reasonable to allow public holidays to be added to long service leave, rather than being consumed by it.

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