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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 February 2015) . . Page.. 490 ..

The scheme is now fully automated. Through the Long Service Leave Authority website, employers in the industries covered by the scheme are able to register with the authority and then provide the authority with quarterly returns listing the employees who have worked for the employer during that quarter, together with the payment of a levy.

The levy is held by the authority in trust accounts for each industry. The levies received by the authority are separately managed and are invested and held to meet the future long service liability of those workers in separate industries. The authority’s investment strategies are overseen by Treasury and approved by the Treasurer. The money in these accounts cannot be used for other industries.

When a worker reaches their entitlement to long service leave, they then apply to the authority, not to their employer, to have their benefits calculated and paid out. All of the schemes are subject to actuarial reviews every three years. It is these reviews that form the basis for consideration of changes to the levies payable by employers. As Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, I am responsible for setting the levy, which differs for each of the member industries.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, what benefits does the scheme provide to workers in the territory?

MR GENTLEMAN: The scheme not only offers benefits for workers; it offers benefits to employers and industry as well. In many respects, as the ACT is the only jurisdiction to have a scheme for the community sector and the contract security sector, it also gives us an advantage over the rest of Australia. For workers, the scheme gives those in the covered industries the surety of knowing that their long service leave entitlements will continue if they stay in the same industry.

When it comes to choice of moving between employers to advance their career opportunities, they know that they can retain continuity of their entitlement. They can plan their future knowing that they will not be disadvantaged, as would have been the case if their long service leave was not portable.

The scheme also provides advantages to employers. As I said earlier, the Long Service Leave Authority manages the long service leave entitlements for workers in the scheme. Employers need only to complete returns, which are now fully automated, once a quarter. They do not have to separately make provisions for long service leave commitments. This is done by the authority, and the scheme actually reduces red tape for those employers. Both employers and covered industries have an advantage in attracting new workers, again because the workers know they will not lose their entitlements should they change jobs.

The scheme also helps industry and the territory retain workers. Workers are more likely to stay in the same industry, ensuring their skills and expertise are retained, when they know their entitlements are also retained.

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