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Long-service leave is redundant: Libs

Date

Noel Towell

The Canberra Liberals say that long-service leave is a ''redundant'' idea for modern workers.

The Opposition's industrial relations spokeswoman Vicki Dunne told the Legislative Assembly yesterday that the entitlement to long-service leave was ''dubious'' and a throwback to early colonial days.

Mrs Dunne made her remarks while opposing a bill for portable long-service leave for security workers.

Industrial Relations Minister Chris Bourke brought on the bill, which passed with Greens support yesterday, aimed at allowing Canberra security guards to take accrued long-service leave entitlements from job to job.

The government has a policy of taking long-service leave entitlements to what it deems to be contract-dominated and low-job security sectors such as security and the community sector.

Dr Bourke said he was trying to bring fairness to workers in low paid or high staff turnover jobs.

''This is one further step in this government's resolve to bring fairness to all workers in the territory,'' he said.

But Mrs Dunne said she had a number of problems with the legislation, arguing the scheme would only capture a tiny number of the 2500 claimed by the government, expose a lack of cross-border arrangements, and create more red tape for businesses and several technical loopholes.

The Liberals frontbencher then launched her attack on the idea of long-service leave.

''The concept for long-service leave is a reward for loyalty of service to an employer and is unique to Australia and New Zealand and was established in our early colonial days,'' Mrs Dunne said.

''In those days it was considered reasonable for citizens to be able to sail home to England or Ireland or from wherever they came from [and] that they could do this in the knowledge that their job would still be there when they returned.

''So long-service leave was envisaged in Australia and New Zealand to allow people to return home on a boat.

''So in a sense, it is a real and intended purpose now redundant for many obvious reasons.

''Even from that viewpoint … it is dubious to think that workers remaining in an industry, let alone [with] a single employer, should be able to accumulate long-service leave.''

Support from the ACT Greens came despite the defeat of the crossbench party's amendments to enforce a start-date on the bill.

Greens industrial relations spokeswoman Amanda Bresnan said portable long-service leave would be an improvement for an industry where workers ''often did it tough''.

''The Greens want to see these improvements start as quickly as possible, and we're concerned the government is unnecessarily delaying its start.

''I moved amendments to guarantee a [October 1] starting date, but unfortunately the other parties did not agree.''

31 comments

  • Without long service leave to look forward to I would simply leave this job I'm in. I work for a government owned enterprise, and the pay is not great. Not having long service would equate to an unstable work environment and an almost complete loss of intelligence for many businesses.

    Commenter
    Paul Ittleman
    Location
    NSW Central Coast
    Date and time
    May 09, 2012, 10:02AM
    • While it is true that many people look forward to their long service leave, if you truly hated your work environment and the only thing left going for it is the long service leave - then as soon as the employee takes the leave, they are likely to walk anyway afterwards.

      So after being relying on you for the last 10 years, you suddenly want to disappear for 6 month and then you may not even come back...

      This doesn't benefit the company at all - it's easy to see why a company doesn't want that. A system where you get more annual leave each year you work for the company means that the company takes less "sudden" hit and there's a gradual reward system for the employee as well.

      Commenter
      John
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 2:27PM
  • I agree that long service leave could be seen as becoming redundant, however, without it there is even less incentive for employee's to stay with the one employer. At least while it exists employee's have that incentive to try and stay with the one employer but without it there is next to no incentive to stay with the one employer long-term.

    Commenter
    noting with interest
    Date and time
    May 09, 2012, 10:04AM
    • If you ran a busines aiming to make a profit, a business in which the single biggest overhead (and in excess of 80% of your operating budget) was labour costs, would you hire someone with 9.5 years service? (think about it)

      Commenter
      John121
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 12:17PM
    • John, the point of these schemes is that the value of the leave gets banked somewhere and the burden does not fall entirely on the employer who happens to be the one when the 10 years falls due.

      Commenter
      enno
      Location
      sydne
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 6:03PM
    • If you ran a busines aiming to make a profit, a business in which the single biggest overhead (and in excess of 80% of your operating budget) was labour costs, would you hire someone with 9.5 years service? (think about it)

      The way portable LSL works is each employer pays a levy in a fund each quarter... the employer who happens to get the employee when they take the LSL does not pay out the wages.

      The employer will have to deal with inconvenience of losing an employee for a period, but these are low skilled service industries - employees are replaceable. The cost to the employer is minimal.

      This has been operating in the cleaning industry for a least a decade, the sky has not fallen in and I am not aware of an employer turning down an experienced and good performing employee... perhaps if employers had more choice they could do it. But with current low unemployment, they will take a good employee

      Commenter
      Hutch
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 7:48PM
  • What nonsense from the Liberals. While other countries may not have long service leave, they reward loyalty to an employer by increasing the amount of annual leave with increasing years of service. In the US, for example, a longer term employee may have 6 or more weeks of annual leave. The idea is not redundant!

    Commenter
    Jim
    Date and time
    May 09, 2012, 10:46AM
    • I like the idea of increasing annual leave as a reward for length of service. It makes it more feasable and rewarding than waiting 10 years for LSL - these days there aren't many people in an organisation (especially outside the APS) for more than a few years, let alone 10!

      Commenter
      southsider
      Date and time
      May 10, 2012, 8:22AM
  • Goodbye to me from 24/09/12 for 20 weeks in that case I should apply for mine before they get any ideas.

    Commenter
    pure health
    Date and time
    May 09, 2012, 10:55AM
    • With comments from the liberals like this we really don't have alternative choices of who should be governing this region when the elections are on.

      Commenter
      Fido
      Date and time
      May 09, 2012, 11:22AM

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