Healthcare

Fairer benefits on horizon for community sector workers

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The Minns Government has taken a significant step toward addressing the staffing crisis in the community and disability services sector by unveiling a groundbreaking bill for fairer entitlements, the Australian Services Union NSW & ACT has announced.

The proposed portable leave scheme is set to revolutionise how community services workers accrue long service leave. Instead of being tied to a single employer, workers would accumulate leave based on their time in the sector, with access to these benefits after seven years, rather than the current decade-long requirement.

Angus McFarland, Secretary of ASU NSW & ACT, emphasised the longstanding advocacy of the union and workers 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,” stated McFarland.

“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.”

McFarland highlighted the challenges faced by workers in the community and disability services sector, where frequent transitions between short-term contracts and employers make it difficult to accrue leave entitlements. Despite working full-time equivalent hours, many workers miss out on the recognition and rewards they deserve.

“Our state depends on our essential community services workers. Without a sustainable community sector workforce, more NSW residents will fall through the cracks,” he added.

The ASU commended the Minns Government for its efforts to introduce a portable long service leave scheme, noting the positive impact it would have on workers’ morale, workforce retention and the continuity of care for residents across NSW.

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