VICTORIA's Australia-first portable long service leave scheme has reached a milestone three years assisting workers in claiming long service leave - regardless of the number of employers they've had.
First introduced following the passing of the Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018, the scheme allows workers in community services, contract cleaning and security to carry over long service benefits between employers.
Member for Bendigo West and newly appointed Speaker Maree Edwards said the importance of the scheme, particularly over the pandemic, was not lost on the government.
"No one predicted we were going to have a global pandemic," she said.
"But it was important to ensure that workers who were involved in vulnerable and casual work had that security."
66 per cent of workers in the scheme's defined industries are women and Ms Edwards said it was important they had the same benefits afforded to them, regardless of who they worked for.
"It is a well known fact that it is mostly women who are in insecure work or contract work," she said.
"So the fact that they can take their long service leave with them when they change to a different job to a different employer, under a different contract means a lot to them.
"It's about making sure that we protect those vulnerable workers."
Since July 2019, more than 227,000 workers have been registered and will be eligible to claim a portable long service benefit.
Of those, 150,000 provide community services including family violence prevention, disability support, accommodation support, home care, and providing support for cultural and linguistically diverse communities.
About 53,000 members are contract cleaners and 24,000 work in security.
The Bendigo-based Portable Long Service Authority (PLSA) will carry out awareness campaigns in coming months to boost membership and bring more workers into the Scheme.
PLSA chief executive Joseph Yeung said hitting the three year milestone was an "amazing achievement."
"We hit all our registration targets a little earlier than planned, which is just great," he said.
"We're trying to ensure now that all the workers that can be covered will be."
PLSA chair Julius Roe said the scheme was an effort to adapt to the changing nature of insecure work in Victoria.
"40 years ago, a lot of the workers who are currently covered by our scheme would have been either directly employed by the government, or directly employed by the large companies, and therefore have long term tenure with the one company," he said.
"But now, jobs in cleaning and security, particularly, instead of being in house within organisations, are operated by contracting companies.
"So one person can be working the same job for twelve years but have six different employers."
While portable long service leave schemes exist in other states, particularly in construction industries, the amalgamation of community services, security and cleaning services is Australia's first legislated long service scheme.
Employers and workers can get more information on portable long service leave by calling 1800 517158, emailing email@example.com or visiting plsa.vic.gov.au.
If you're reading this it's because you're a loyal subscriber to the Bendigo Advertiser. If you want to get more out of your subscription join the discussion on the Bendigo Advertiser's subscriber group on Facebook today.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.