20 May 2020

Workers can tap Portable Long Service Leave to get through COVID-19 shutdown

| Ian Bushnell
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Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety, Suzanne Orr

Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety, Suzanne Orr: workers in building and construction, contract cleaning, the community sector and security will benefit. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Eligible Canberra workers who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 restrictions or need to take COVID-19-related leave will be able to access their Portable Long Service Leave early after recent temporary changes to the scheme.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety Suzanne Orr said this would allow workers to directly access the necessary support to help them through this difficult time.

“The ACT Government is committed to providing the necessary support for those that need it during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Orr said.

“These changes to the ACT’s Portable Long Service Leave scheme will provide much-needed support to Canberra workers in building and construction, contract cleaning, the community sector and security.”

She said this would assist those who may not have other options to rely on.

Recent amendments to the Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Act 2009 temporarily allow:

  • Eligible workers to access up to two weeks of leave earlier than is allowed under current legislation, and
  • Eligible workers who have left the industry because of the COVID-19 outbreak to access a payment instead of leave for their recognised service.

A registered worker will be eligible for early access to their Portable Long Service leave if:

  • The registered worker has 18 months or more recognised service in the ACT, and
  • The registered worker has recognised service in their relevant industry in the ACT in the 12 months immediately before the COVID-19 emergency, and
  • The registered worker suffers hardship because of the COVID-19 emergency.

Ms Orr said the eligibility and amendments had been finalised in consultation with the ACT Long Service Leave Authority and employee and employer representatives.

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