You might have seen that yesterday the Victorian Parliament passed legislation to give effect to portable long service leave.
However, while many community services workers will now have access to portable long service leave, disability workers have not won these same rights.
The decision to exclude disability workers followed intense lobbying by disability employers and independent cross-bench MPs who argued the NDIS meant employers could not afford to pay portable long service leave. But of course, employers always argue that! And indeed, employers were using the same arguments in 2010 before the NDIS was a reality.
Because of opposition from Independent MPs and the Liberals, the Victorian Government said that they didn’t have enough votes to include disability workers.
We were bitterly disappointed the Government never tested the support in Parliament, and that they themselves moved the amendment to exclude disability workers. However, the door has been left open to re-include disability workers at a later date by regulation.
HACSU representatives are making strong representations to the Victorian Government, pointing out that disability workers have the strongest case of all to be included in a portable long service leave scheme.
With the NDIS, we will be one of the largest groupings of workers in the community services sector, with a huge proportion of part-timers and casuals working across different employers.
Dedicated disability support workers, 70% of whom are women, do such important work supporting the most vulnerable members of our community. They deserve portable long service leave and excluding them is plain unfair.
We have fought for over two years to gain access to portable long service leave and we will continue to campaign into the future.
Members should remain strong and continue to fight as a collective to ensure portable long service leave is given to disability workers.
Please note that this does not impact the DHHS long service leave transfer rights for workers transferring from DHHS to other organisations; these arrangements have not been impacted by this announcement.
HACSU representatives will be working with delegates and members on a campaign to pressure the Government to give us a commitment and timetable to implement regulations to include disability workers in the portable long service leave scheme.
Further updates will follow on this matter.
Yours in union
HACSU State Secretary