In 2018, under the leadership of Natalie Hutchins, Minister for Industrial Relations, and Minister for Women, two significant improvements to long service leave (LSL) are creating fairer and more flexible Victorian workplaces, particularly for women.
In June 2018, the Long Service Leave Act 2018 was updated to enable workers to accrue LSL during all paid leave, as well as during the first 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave. The changes also allow workers to apply for leave after seven years, not 10.
These amendments, led by Natalie Hutchins, mean women are no longer penalised by losing time accrued towards LSL when they take time off paid work to raise their children.
Also led by Natalie, the Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018 entitles social and community sector workers, 83 per cent of whom are women, as well as security and contract cleaning workers to LSL benefits after working for seven years in their sector – irrespective of the number of employers they have worked for during that time.
Anna describes the benefits of these changes: “Social and community service workers like me work in services such as family violence, alcohol and other drugs, youth residential and mental health – just to name a few. Due to the stress of work, short-term funding cycles and the lack of promotional opportunities, workers in my sector often change employers.
When we do this, we almost always say goodbye to any long service leave we have accumulated. Many workers in my sector could work a lifetime but would never receive long service leave.”
Through being a champion for this legislation change, Natalie has made a major contribution to Victorian workplaces and changed the course of life for tens of thousands of Victorian women.