AMMA has advised against any extension of long service leave (LSL) portability in Australia, arguing that it should remain contingent on service with a single employer.

AMMA responded on behalf of the national resource industry to a Senate inquiry into the feasibility of, and options for, creating a national long service standard, and the portability of long service and other entitlements, undertaken by the Education and Employment References Committee.

Published today, AMMA’s submission urges the committee to recommend:

  1. In favour of LSL remaining contingent on extended service with one employer (i.e. genuine long service before LSL is triggered), as has been the case for decades and as is fundamental to the concept of LSL.
  2. Against any further extension of portable LSL beyond the specified industries to which it currently applies under federal, state and territory legislation.
  3. Greater flexibility in how LSL can be accrued, taken and used where agreed between the employee and their employer, updating the very tightly controlled, paternalistic, one-size-fits-all approaches under current legislation.
  4. Moving to a genuinely national LSL standard, through a National Employment Standard on LSL under the Fair Work Act 2009. Ideally this would be a cooperative approach which would apply a national LSL standard to all enterprises covered by the Fair Work Act, and harmonised state laws in any residual areas of private sector jurisdiction.

While AMMA’s submission discusses how LSL should operate if it is to remain part of the Australian employment standards minimum entitlements, AMMA executive director of policy and public affairs, Scott Barklamb points out that now is not the time for an inquiry into the issue.

“Australia is facing serious threats to living standards and jobs if our industries do not become more productive and competitive,” Mr Barklamb says.

“This committee should be focusing on improving Australia as a place to invest, do business and create jobs, and on core employment concerns for employees such as job security, and ensuring skills and experience maintain long term employability, and not on a comparatively marginal concept such as LSL.

“The committee should also be engaged with how Australia can become a more productive and competitive place to do business.

“There are no jobs, or gains for our economy in looking at LSL, and there is no pressing safety net concern requiring remediation.”

Mr Barklamb says resource industry employers are disappointed with the narrow focus of the inquiry when there are broader questions that need to be asked about the future of LSL in Australia.

“Portability is and should remain a marginal concern for the wider operation of LSL into the future,” he says.

“Notwithstanding the selective terms of reference, this committee should use the opportunity to address more fundamental and relevant questions for the future of LSL.

“The committee should use the opportunity of this inquiry to recommend a process to move towards a genuinely national LSL standard in our national employment legislation that would apply on a non-portable basis and offer options for greater flexibility in the accrual, taking and use of LSL by agreement between employees and employers.”

The committee is required to report by 25 February 2016.

Click here to read AMMA’s full submission to the Inquiry into the feasibility of, and options for, creating a national long service standard, and the portability of long service and other entitlements.

To discuss AMMA’s submission or provide feedback on this issue, please contact AMMA’s policy team via 1800 627 771 or [email protected].