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Information for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) employers

A guide for NDIS employers to check if they are covered by the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme.

What is portable long service?

The Portable Long Service Scheme (Scheme) provides portable long service benefits to workers in the Victorian community services sector. Workers can build up long service entitlements based on time spent in the industry, rather than with a single employer.

It is ‘portable’ because it moves with workers if they change employers but remain in the industry. 

Workers can be registered with multiple community services employers at the same time. If a worker is working for more than one community services employer in the same period, they accrue benefits with each employer.

The Portable Long Service Authority administers the Scheme.

Which employers are included?

NDIS providers that employ one or more individuals to perform community service work must register as an employer.

Most NDIS providers will be a covered employer. There are some limited exceptions related to government bodies, hospitals, and health services.

An organisation providing disability services is an employer for the Scheme even if they also provide health or aged care services.

Employers can be corporations or individuals. An NDIS participant who self-manages their plan and employs their own staff to perform community service work, such as home care support, is an employer.

Under the Scheme the following employers must register:

  • non-profit employers that provide community service work; and
  • for-profit employers that provide community service work for people with a disability.

When do NDIS providers have to register?

For an organisation only providing activities funded by the NDIS:

  • By 1 April 2020, if they were an NDIS provider as of 1 January 2020, or
  • A new company or an existing company which employs individuals performing community services work.

What happens if an employer hasn’t registered?

The Authority will start by working with employers to register and for the employer to pay backdated levies due. 

If the education and collaborative approach does not achieve registration and/or payment of all levies due, the Authority will start proportionate compliance activities, which includes exercising its power to require information, civil litigation, and/or pursuing criminal prosecutions. 

This may result in:

  • criminal convictions (against a company or individual)
  • recovery of outstanding fees and the imposition of further interest.

How does the Authority define disability?

The Authority uses the definition of ‘disability’ found in section 3 of the Disability Act 2006 (Vic). This definition excludes impairment related to ageing.

What is community service work?

Community service work includes:

  • assessment of individual or family needs
  • community development services
  • community legal services, community education and information services or community advocacy services
  • crisis counselling
  • custodial or supportive care and social welfare
  • drug and alcohol services
  • emergency material relief
  • family support services
  • family violence prevention and response
  • fundraising assistance for community groups
  • home care support services provided in a private house, irrespective of the age of the client
  • housing and homelessness services
  • migrant and refugee support services
  • NDIS support coordination
  • neighbourhood houses
  • other support services for:
    • persons with a disability or their carers
    • persons who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or in crisis
  • services providing assistance to particular cultural or linguistically diverse communities
  • social and community development, education or advocacy
  • social work or welfare work
  • youth work or youth services.

It also includes the following work for people with a disability or other people who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or in crisis:

  • training and employment support, or employment placement
  • financial support or goods
  • accommodation, or accommodation-related support services
  • home care support services.

Services that support, supervise or manage the provision of any of these services are also included in the definition of community service work.

NDIS activities and community service work

An employer that is providing any of the types of community service listed above must register with the Portable Long Service Authority.

The above list is broad and includes most support services that are commonly funded by the NDIS including but not limited to home care support services, support services to assist with social and community participation, as well as support coordination. 

Employer Obligations

Community service employers must:

I’m an NDIS provider - do I have to register all my employees?

If you are a registered employer, you must register all your workers covered by a listed award.

A worker is taken to be employed under an award even if an enterprise agreement, individual contract, or an agreement based transitional instrument applies.

Refer to ‘Who is a community services worker’. 

The listed awards are:

  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010
  • Children’s Services Award 2010
  • Educational Services (Teachers) Award 2010
  • Labour Market Assistance Industry Award 2020
  • Supported Employment Services Award 2020

For example, a swimming instructor working with a client funded by the NDIS would not be eligible for the Scheme as their employment would be covered by the Fitness Industry Award 2020. However, a support worker that accompanies a client to NDIS funded swimming activities, would be eligible as their employment is covered by the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010.

NDIS providers also operating in health or aged care may have some individuals covered by a listed Award who must be registered. Other individuals whose employment is covered by other awards such as the Aged Care Award or the Health Professionals and Support Services Award are not eligible for the Scheme. 

For example, workers that are providing health or mental health services to people with a disability and are covered by one of the health professional occupation awards may be excluded. For example, physiotherapist, registered nurse, speech pathologist, diversional therapist, occupational therapist or credentialed mental health social worker. 

Other workers, like psychosocial recovery coaches covered by the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 are workers under the Scheme and must be registered.

I don’t know what award covers my employees – what should I do?

If you are unsure what award covers your workers, contact the Fair Work Ombudsman at in a new window).

Are senior managers and administrative workers included?

Employers providing disability services are part of the social and community services sector.

The social and community services employee classifications are broad and cover employees working in most roles in the social and community services sector. The classifications generally cover administrative workers including senior executives and managers.

Are workers with a disability employed under the Supported Employment Services Award 2020 included?

Supported employment providers who are providing community service work and must registered. 

Supported employment providers or Australian Disability Enterprises provide a wide range of employment opportunities including packaging, assembly, production, recycling, screen-printing, plant nursery, garden maintenance and landscaping, cleaning services, laundry services and food services.

All workers at supported employment providers that are covered by the Supported Employment Services Award 2020 (or one of the other listed Awards) are included as workers and must be registered. This includes workers:

  • for whom competitive employment (at or above the relevant award wage) is unlikely; and
  • who, because of their disabilities, need substantial ongoing support to obtain or keep paid employment.

History of the Scheme and the NDIS

NDIS entities were included from 1 January 2020. This allowed NDIS entities time to prepare for the implications of the Scheme after the conclusion of the NDIS rollout in Victoria.

Prior to 1 January 2020, activities funded by the NDIS were not considered community service work and entities that were operating in the community services sector, only in relation to activities funded by the NDIS, were not required to register.

From 1 January 2020, activities funded by the NDIS that fall within the definition of community service work were included in the Scheme.

For more information phone the Authority on 1800 517 158(opens in a new window) or email



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