Fairer entitlements within reach for community sector workers

Australian Services Union

Easing the staffing crisis in the community and disability services sector is edging closer as the Minns Government releases a landmark bill for fairer entitlements today, the Australian Services Union NSW & ACT said.

The proposed portable leave scheme would allow community services workers to accrue long service leave based on time in the sector rather than with a single employer, and access this leave after seven years rather than a decade.

ASU NSW & ACT Secretary Angus McFarland said the union and workers have long been calling for these entitlements.

“This bill is a step towards fairer entitlements for community and disability services workers, and a step towards easing the sector’s staffing crisis in NSW,” Mr McFarland said.

“Demand for community and disability support workers is rising all while the sector is plagued by high turnover and workforce shortages. Members tell us they feel burnt out and undervalued, with inadequate entitlements playing a huge factor.

“The sector desperately needs new ways to attract and retain workers – a portable leave scheme will help achieve just that. Workers in Queensland, Victoria and the ACT already have a portable long service leave scheme – NSW workers deserve no less.

“Workers in the women-dominated community and disability services sector are often jumping between short-term contracts and employers, meaning they’re unable to bank up leave entitlements. It means they are working incredibly hard, often at full-time equivalent hours, but not receiving the well-deserved recognition and reward.

“Our state depends on our essential community services workers. Everyday they support some of the state’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged including people with disability, women escaping family violence, and those who are experiencing homelessness and extreme housing stress. Without a sustainable community sector workforce, more NSW residents will fall through the cracks.

“The ASU commends the Minns Government for working to introduce a portable long service leave scheme for the community services sector – a move that will boost workers’ morale and wellbeing, workforce attraction and retention, and continuity of care for the people of NSW.”

/Public Release.