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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2033 ..

per annum for those who have accrued over seven years of service and choose to stay with the same employer. The added burden on employers may be the possible need for slight adjustments to leave accrual systems.

These amendments are a real win for employees, with negligible cost to employers, while simplifying the practical application of the act. Allowing employees to gain access to their long service leave on a yearly basis after serving an initial seven-year period is innovative. However, with the debate on work/life balance and the need to enhance recruitment and retention policies in the ACT within a tightening labour market, these proposals can frankly be regarded as addressing current workplace realities without being economically irresponsible.

The amendments made in 2007 to the Long Service Leave (Building and Construction Industry) Act 1981 sought, amongst other things, to improve the administration of the building and construction industry portable long service scheme by simplifying the reporting requirements and the calculation of service and payments. One of these amendments applied a new formula to reimburse employers where employees elected to take long service leave under the Long Service Leave Act 1976 or other acts instead of under the portable scheme.

Unfortunately, this formula has not been easy to apply and has led to some confusion on the part of employers and employees. This bill removes that formula and introduces a less complex method for determining what is to be reimbursed to employers, based simply on what has actually been paid to the employee, subject to the governing board’s approval.

The amendments in this bill will further simplify and streamline long service leave arrangements under both pieces of legislation and make them more practical for both employers and employees.

Finally, it is worth noting that the federal government has called for the creation of a harmonised national long service leave scheme. This will present a significant challenge to all jurisdictions, given the noticeably different models that currently exist throughout the country. I, for one, look forward to this review and hope that a national long service leave scheme can be created that reflects many of the positive aspects of our own legislation.

In the meantime, the ACT government is committed to working with employers and employees to enhance long service leave entitlements for private sector employees in the ACT and this bill is a clear demonstration of that commitment. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Parental 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.

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