vic_logo

Portable long service in the contract cleaning industry

Information for businesses employing contract cleaning workers and how portable long service applies.

The Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018 defines the contract cleaning industry as:

The industry in which employers provide cleaning work to other people through the provision of workers’ services.

Businesses who employ workers to do contract cleaning work as defined by the Act, must comply with the legislation by:

  • Registering with the Portable Long Service Authority.
  • Submitting Quarterly Returns to the Portable Long Service Authority.

To determine eligibility for the Portable Long Service Scheme as an employer or worker in the contract cleaning industry, 2 tests are applied:

Employer test

Is the employer classified as an employer under the Scheme?

Worker test

Is the worker classified as a worker under the Scheme?

Who is a contract cleaning employer under the Portable Long Service Scheme?

An employer in the contract cleaning industry is a person or company engaged in the contract cleaning industry in Victoria that employs someone else (whether in Victoria or elsewhere) to perform work in the contract cleaning industry.

The employer must be engaged in the contract cleaning industry and must employ someone else to perform work in the contract cleaning industry.

A person is also an employer in the contract cleaning industry if they employ or engage someone else (i.e. a worker) to perform work in the industry for another person engaged in the industry in Victoria for a fee or reward and there is no contract to perform work between the worker and the person for whom the work is performed.

Examples of contract cleaning employers

Yum Pty Ltd operates a restaurant and employs a number of staff to work in the restaurant. Staff are required to undertake cleaning work at the restaurant, e.g. clean floors, tidy up the restaurant at closing. The staff do undertake cleaning work, however Yum Pty Ltd would not be classified as an employer in the contract cleaning industry because it is not engaged in the contract cleaning sector and it does not use its staff to provide cleaning services to other people.

LMN Pty Ltd is a company that provides labour hire solutions for other companies engaged in the contract cleaning industry such as Cleaning Services Pty Ltd.

When Cleaning Services Pty Ltd requires additional staff to perform cleaning work for its clients, it engages LMN Pty Ltd to procure, mobilise and manage the additional staff. The additional staff then perform cleaning work on behalf on Cleaning Service Pty Ltd for its various clients. There is no contract of employment or otherwise directly between the additional staff and Cleaning Services Pty Ltd.

Michaela works for Springfield Meals Association which is an employer for the community services sector. Michaela cleans the building where the Association operates. The Association is not engaged in the contract cleaning industry and does not provide staff to complete cleaning work for other people. Therefore, Michaela does not work for an employer engaged in the contract cleaning industry, therefore she is not eligible to join the Portable Long Service Scheme.

The following are NOT contract cleaning industry employers under the Portable Long Service Scheme

  • The Commonwealth of Australia, for example the Department of Education.
  • The State of Victoria, for example the Department of Education and Training.
  • Entity that has a governing body appointed under an Act, for example the Portable Long Service Benefits Authority.
  • Municipal council or other public statutory body, for example the City of Melbourne or Mornington Peninsula Shire.

For example, Christiane works for the City of Boroondara and cleans the Town Hall. The City of Boroondara is a municipal council and is not a contract cleaning employer under the Portable Long Service Scheme. Therefore, Christiane is not eligible to join the Scheme.

What is contract cleaning work?

The Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018, defines contract cleaning is work that has its only or main function of bringing a premises into, or keeping it in, a clean condition.

The Act states that premises include any land or structure, any part of an area of land and part of any structure.

Cleaning work includes the cleaning of a swimming pool and the ground surrounding a swimming pool but not aircraft/trains/boats.

Examples of contract cleaning work

Farouk cleans swimming pools ad the tiling around the swimming pool, he does not do any gardening work. Farouk performs cleaning work.

Jimmy cleans land along the highway of rubbish. He does not remove or alter vegetation in any way in his work. Jimmy performs cleaning work.

Work that is NOT contract cleaning work as defined by the Act

Cleaning of aircraft, boats, cars, trains, caravans – things that are mobile and not a fixed premises or land.

Who is a worker under the Portable Long Service Scheme?

A worker is an individual employed by an employer for the contract cleaning industry, including an apprentice or any individual whose employment requires the individual to learn or be taught cleaning work or individuals employed on a casual or seasonal basis.

For example, Sasha is employed by Roberta’s Cleaning Services Pty Ltd as a cleaner. Roberta’s Cleaning Service Pty Ltd employs cleaners to clean properties owned by other people. Therefore, Roberta’s Cleaning Services Pty Ltd is engaged in the contract cleaning industry and as a worker employed by Roberta’s Cleaning Services Pty Ltd to do cleaning work, Sasha is eligible to join the Scheme.

Workers who are NOT eligible to join the Portable Long Service Scheme

Workers who do not perform cleaning work as the predominant or main activity of their job are not eligible for the Scheme. 

For example, Fiona is an employed by Cleaning Services Pty Ltd as a cleaner of residential homes – she performs cleaning work under the Act and is employed by employer under the Act. 

Fiona’s Manager Henrietta is the Area Manager and takes the bookings, rosters staff and manages the day to day operations of the company. Henrietta is not a worker under the Scheme as her work is administrative, not performing cleaning work.

Fiona is acting as Area Manager while Henrietta is taking long service leave for a number of months. Fiona is still classified as being eligible for the Scheme as her permanent position is as a cleaner, even though she is Acting Area Manager few a few months. When Fiona takes long service leave and Henrietta does Fiona’s cleaning work, Henrietta will not become eligible for the Scheme as her permanent role is in administration. The predominant or main work determines eligibility to join the Scheme.

Workers who are already members of the CoINVEST scheme are not eligible to join the Portable Long Service Scheme.

Workers who are employed under these awards are not eligible for the scheme:

  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010
  • Vehicle Manufacturing
  • Repair, Services and Retail Awards 2010
  • Airline Operations Ground Staff Award 2010
  • Waste Management Award 2010

How do contract cleaning workers claim long service as part of the Portable Long Service Scheme?

When workers reach 7 years of service, they will be eligible to make a claim for their long service benefit as part of the Portable Long Service Scheme.

The process for this will be to apply to their employer for leave from the workplace then provide that approved leave to the Authority, which will pay the benefit into the worker’s bank account.

Recognition of service – prior credit

The Registrar may approve an application from an active worker to recognise their service during the 2018/2019 financial year and for this service to be credited to their service credit balance. This can only be done as part of a claim for long service under the Portable Long Service Scheme, not the Long Service Leave Act 2018.

Existing long service leave and portable long service – what if my workers have both?

There may be some cross-over between the existing Long Service Leave Act 2018 and the Portable Long Service Scheme. Some employers may have existing workers who have accrued Long Service Leave under the Long Service Leave Act 2018.

For example, Julie has been working as a contract cleaner for five years with her current employer. Julie has accrued 5 years ‘traditional’ long service leave under the Long Service Leave Act 2018.

Julie remains in the employment of her current employer for two years after 1 July 2019, bringing her to 7 years service/employment in total.

When Julie makes her claim for long service, his employer will pay out the total long service and will be reimbursed by the Authority for the two years accrued under the Portable scheme.

If Julie left her employer before the 7 years, she would lose that accrued long service leave (like any other worker under the Long Service Leave Act 2018). Julie will have started accruing under the Portable Scheme from 1 July 2019. She would then be eligible after six years (if she claims the 18/19 year) to make a claim under the Portable Long Service Scheme.

Reviewed 13 August 2019

Was this page helpful?