How portable long service works
The Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme allows workers in community services, contract cleaning and security to take their long service entitlement with them if they change jobs but stay in the industry.
From 1 July 2019, businesses with workers in community services, contract cleaning and security must register with the Portable Long Service Authority, which administers the Scheme. Community services providing children's services or activities funded by the NDIS are required to register from 1 January 2020.
New businesses must register within 3 months of establishment.
Registered employers submit quarterly returns through the employer
When a quarterly return is lodged, an invoice will be issued to the business to pay the employer levy. The levy must be paid within 14 days.
Who are employers for the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme?
Community services employers are non-profit entities employing workers to perform community service work, or for-profit entities that employ workers to perform community service work for people with a disability.
Contract cleaning employers engage one or more workers to perform cleaning work for other people.
Security employers engage one or more workers to perform security activities for which they are licensed or registered under the Private Security Act 2004.
Employers do not need to register if they are:
- local, state or federal government bodies
- an entity that has a governing board appointed by a state or federal Act
- another statutory body.
For more information about who and what is covered by the scheme, you can visit the relevant industry page for:
What employers need to do
If you’re an employer in the community services, contract cleaning or security industries in Victoria, with workers engaged to perform work in these industries, you’re required to register with the Portable Long Service Authority.
Please note: Registration is compulsory, and penalties may be imposed for any employer failing to register. Employers must register within 3 months becoming an employer in the industry.
It is a legislative requirement that employers give the Portable Long Service Authority details about their workers’ service each quarter.
This is done by completing and submitting quarterly returns through the employer .
These returns include information about:
- the time worked and ordinary wages received by eligible workers during the period
- any long service leave taken by workers during the period
- details of eligible workers terminated during the period.
Employers are required to register their eligible workers for the scheme through their quarterly return. Each quarter, you must ensure that you have included any new workers on your quarterly return.
Employers are required to pay a levy each quarter that’s based on the time worked and ordinary wages paid to their workers, as reported in the quarterly return.
Levy payments are payable within 14 days and can be paid by BPay and EFT. The levy is set by the Governing Board and is currently:
- 1.65% of workers’ ordinary wages for community services
- 1.80% of workers’ ordinary wages for contract cleaning and security
Employers should keep records of their compliance with their obligations, including:
- worker details such as name and date of birth and when they began service with the employer
- the nature of the work performed by workers
- time worked and ordinary wages received by each worker
- long service benefits provided to the worker under this legislation, the Long Service Leave Act 2018, or a fair work instrument
- any other long service benefits paid or given to the worker
- the date a worker stops service with the employer.
Make sure you notify the Portable Long Service Authority if you change your address or other contact details. This can be done through the employer portal or by calling us on 1800 517 158.
A step-by-step guide for employers, explaining how to submit quarterly returns through the employer portal.
Claiming back long service leave payments
Instructions for employers to claim back long service payments made to workers
Frequently asked questions
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
As it does not meet the definition of an employer under the applicable legislation, the Authority does not pay superannuation or payroll tax when it pays a claim under the Long Services Benefits Portability Act .
International students working in Australia are entitled to the same workplace rights and protections as Australian citizens and residents including the ability to accrue portable long service benefits under the Act.
While some students return to their home country permanently, many students come back to Australia to continue their studies and may also resume working in the community services, contract cleaning or security industries.
If the worker performs the required period of service and becomes entitled to receive portable long service benefits, they are entitled to the long service benefit like other workers.
Reviewed 25 October 2021