How to register your business
From 1 July 2019, businesses with workers in:
- community services
- contract cleaning
must register with the Portable Long Service Authority.
This registration must be completed between 1 July and 30 September 2019 for established businesses.
New businesses must register within 3 months of establishment.
Businesses will be required to provide the following information as part of the registration process:
- business name
- business address
- Name and contact details of a primary contact
- ABN or ACN (if applicable)
- The type of work your business does
- the date you started employing workers in the industry in Victoria
Businesses may be contacted by phone by the Authority to confirm information provided in the registration application.
Businesses will receive information about their registration application via email and a 'welcome pack' containing a letter advising of the outcome of their application. By mail you will receive a certificate of registration and industry information.
Registration of workers will be completed as part of the quarterly return. The first quarterly return needs to be submitted in October 2019.
There is no cost to register with the portable long service authority, however businesses may be required to pay a levy as part of their quarterly return every 3 months.
Assistance with registration
Lodging your quarterly return
All registered employers are required to lodge a quarterly return to the Portable Long Service Authority every 3 months, starting in October 2019 and each year after that.
This means you must lodge every 3 months during these times:
- from 1 to 31 October
- from 1 January to 31 January
- from 1 April to 30 April
- from 1 May to 31 July
The first quarterly return, to be submitted in October 2019, will require registered employers to register all workers for the first time. For employers joining the scheme at a later date, they will register workers as part of their first quarterly return.
This can be done via the online portal which you will be able to access online from October 2019.
The quarterly return will include information about:
- all eligible workers who have worked for the employer during that quarter
- the hours they have worked
- the ordinary pay they received during the quarter
- any long service leave they have taken under another arrangement
- details of any worker terminated during the quarter
When a quarterly return is lodged, an invoice will be issued to the business to pay the employer levy.
How to pay the employer levy
The employer levy will need to be paid once the registered employer receives their invoice from the Authority.
The levy can be paid via the portal by BPay and must be made within 14 days.
How the levy is calculated
The levy was determined by the Authority’s Governing Board on 9 May 2019 as follows:
- 1.65% for community services
- 1.80% for contract cleaning
- 1.80% for security
The Portable Long Service Benefits Authority is responsible for the administration and operation of the Scheme. They will liaise with employers to ensure they understand their obligations under the Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018 and how the levy will be applied.
If you are unable to meet the due date for a return, please contact the Authority before the due date to request an extension of time. If your extension of time is approved, you will be advised of your new confirmed due date.
Employer contributions when a worker moves interstate
If a worker moves interstate, they may be able to make arrangements with that state or territory to transfer their portable long service. As the Authority enters into agreements with other states and territories the details of these agreements will be made available.
All employer levy payments remain with the Authority until a claim is made by an employee.
The industries covered by portable long service schemes in other states and territories include:
- Queensland (QLD) - Building and Construction and Contract Cleaning
- New South Wales (NSW) - Building and Construction and Contract Cleaning
- Australian Capital Territory (ACT) - Building and Construction, Contract Cleaning, Community Services and Security
- Tasmania (TAS) - Building and Construction
- South Australia (SA) - Building and Construction
- Western Australia (WA) - Building and Construction
- Northern Territory (NT) - Building and Construction
Records each business needs to keep
Businesses need to keep the following records:
- the worker's name and date of birth
- the nature of the work performed by the worker
- the worker's ordinary pay for each quarter
- the number of hours worked by the worker in each quarter
- the date when the worker began service with the employer
- long service benefits given to the worker under this Act, another Act, a corresponding law or a fair work instrument, including - long service leave granted to, or taken by, the worker payments for, or in lieu of, long service leave made to the worker
- any other long service benefits paid or given to the worker
- if the worker stops service with the employer - the date the worker stops service
National companies with workers in Victoria
National businesses with workers who don't live in Victoria but perform work in Victoria still need to register.
Employer contributions when a worker is absent
If a worker leaves the industry for more than 4 years, they will lose access to their accrued benefits.
Employer contributions when a worker becomes self-employed
If a worker becomes self employed, they can join the scheme as a contract worker and start making their own contributions.
When they become eligible, they can make a claim.
Who pays for the Scheme?
The operating costs for the scheme are currently paid for by the Victorian government and in the future the Authority and Scheme will be self funding. The levy paid by employers and invested by the Authority will fund the ongoing operation of the Scheme.
Is the scheme compulsory?
The Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018 is a Victorian law and therefore those employers defined in the Act must comply with their obligation to register with the Authority and lodge quarterly returns. Compliance action may be taken against organisation that fail to comply with the law.
If my worker leaves the industry, do we get the levy we have paid for them back?
Employer levies paid to the Authority are held by the Authority. The point of the portable scheme is to ensure that when a worker moves to a different employer within the industry and continues to build up long service, they will be able to claim their long service entitlements when they become entitled to do so. Money is not returned to the employer when a worker leaves their employment.
It is important to note that a worker is allowed to leave the industry for up to four (4) years and if they return to the industry, they will continue to build up their portable long service entitlements. An employer does not pay the levy for a worker who is not working in the sector.
How do I decide who is eligible for the scheme? What about team leaders and managers? If I get it wrong will I be reimbursed / prosecuted?
Tests are undertaken to determine if an employer or worker is included in the Scheme.
There are two tests that apply to determine a person’s eligibility in the community services sector under the Act:
Employer Test: Is the employing entity eligible to be an employer for the community services sector, and does that employer employ at least one person who is eligible to be a worker for the community services sector?
Worker Test: Is the individual worker eligible to be a worker for the community services sector? To be an eligible worker, the predominant activity of the eligible individual worker’s substantive role must be the personal delivery of services or the personal performance of activities that are community service work.
A manager or team leader’s eligibility depends on the kind of work they personally deliver.
Social work is community service work.
A social worker personally delivers social work services.
A team leader who manages a team of social workers and regularly accompanies her team on visits and meetings with clients, or actively works with team members on case management probably personally provides activities that are social work (i.e. direct support to the provision of the service). Individual circumstances would need to be considered.
An area manager who is responsible for all team leaders and social workers in an area and does not participate in visits or meetings with clients (or only does so infrequently) probably does not personally deliver services or perform activities that are social work. Again, individual circumstances would need to be considered.
It is the responsibility of the employer to determine whether an individual worker is to be registered in their quarterly return and join the Portable Long Service Scheme. You may find the following examples helpful to assist you to distinguish between activities which would, and would not, be considered the personal performance of community service work.
It is also important to remember to apply a predominance test to the employee’s work. That is, a worker may have a small role in delivering community services, but if it is not their predominant role, they will not be eligible for the scheme.
For example: Jean is the Team Leader of the Rapid Housing Program, which consists of six team members, at a local homelessness service which is an employer for the purposes of the Act.
All six team members have been deemed to be undertaking community service work for the purposes of the Act.
Jean does not have an assigned client load and rarely has direct client contact. Jean coordinates and manages the team including providing clinical supervision, practice direction, debriefing, organising training and team development, making decisions on financial support provided to clients, supporting workers to engage in best practice, sitting on service committees and operational tasks which support the team to undertake their work.
Given that the team rely directly on Jean in order to perform community service work, Jean personally performs activities that would most likely be considered community service work for the purposes of the Act in that her work provides an accommodation-related support service.
Jude is an administrative assistant at a local youth support service. The service is an employer for the purposes of the Act. Jude delivers administrative assistance to a team of people, 60% of whom personally perform community service work for the purposes of the Act. Jude books training, manages the small office, assists with payroll, signs cheques for financial assistance to clients, books accommodation for clients and oversees the maintenance and provision of a small fleet of company cars. Jude does not engage directly with clients.
Whilst his work is important to the organisation and to its workforce, it would most likely be considered not essential to the performance of community service work for the purposes of the Act. In this respect, his work can be distinguished from the work performed by Jean above. Jean helps manage casework, even though she rarely meets with clients.
Please note, these examples are provided to assist you in judging your own circumstances and are not an indication of the Authority’s view on whether your workers are eligible under the scheme.
Do we get a refund/reimbursement when a worker leaves our company?
No, an employer will not receive a refund of levy payments if a worker leaves their employment. The purpose of the portability scheme is to provide workers with the ability to move from one employer to another without losing the long service benefits they have accrued.The worker may leave your employment, but they remain eligible to accrue portable long service benefits as long as they remain within the industry, performing a work defined by the Act.
What do we do with the money we have set aside for other Long Service provisions?
Your workers retain their rights to accrue long service under the Long Service Leave Act 2018, and, if relevant, under a federal industrial instrument. Your organisation needs to have sufficient funds on hand to meet these obligations as they are separate to the Portable Scheme. However, the Act includes double-dipping provisions that allow an employer to claim a reimbursement from the Authority in certain circumstances, if they pay the worker under a different scheme.
Will the Authority pay super or payroll tax?
The Authority does not pay superannuation when it pays a claim under the Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018. This is because it does not meet the definition of an employer under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. An employer may choose to make a superannuation contribution for the worker for the period they are on leave.
Reviewed 02 September 2019