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Securing Portable Long Service Leave for Disability Workers in NSW

Disability workers are calling on the Government to make the NDIS the best it can be.

Union members have been calling for Portable Long Service Leave for years, and we are closer than ever. The NSW Government has promised to introduce legislation in 2024 to make it a reality. We need your help to shape the legislation and make it the best it can be.

Here are three things you can do right now to help win better rights at work:

  1. If you're not a member, join your union today

  2. Take our survey and share your story about why we need portable long service leave.

  3. Email the Crossbench. The NSW Labor Government have committed to legislating PLSL. Now we need to make sure it has the support of parliament.

  4. Book a workplace meeting to make sure our whole sector supports portable long service leave

Want more information? Read on!

What is portable long service leave (PLSL)?

Long Service Leave is a basic right for working people in Australia, but workers in the community sector rarely get to access it.

As the union for community and disability workers, the Australian Services Union is calling for PLSL for our sector.

PLSL recognises your years of service to the community sector rather than to an individual employer. Your long service leave stays with you, even if you move between services or employers in the sector.

Why is portable long service leave needed?

There is a high turnover of workers in the community and disability sector because:

  1. The nature of work often involves working in high stress, crisis and trauma environments which can lead to burn out, and

  2. Government funding in our sector is often linked to short-term funding contracts, and

  3. At least 1 in 4 workers in the community sector are employed on short-term contracts.


All of this means that workers regularly change jobs, and when you move to a different employer you lose your entitlement to long service leave.

PLSL would provide you with a well-deserved break and reduce the turnover of workers leaving our industry.

What other workers already have portable long service leave?

Community and disability sector workers already have PLSL in the ACT, Queensland and Victoria and in NSW:

  • construction workers and contract cleaning workers in NSW already have access to PLSL through a special scheme established for those sectors, and

  • Teachers and nurses in NSW can carry their long service leave with them if they change schools or hospitals. 


Community and disability workers in NSW are essential workers and deserve to be recognised for their contribution to the sector and our community.

How would it work?

PLSL schemes in other states have some common features:

  • Employers regularly contribute to a special leave scheme (like how employers pay superannuation). This amount decreases over time as the fund accumulates interest, creating savings for employers.

  • The scheme covers a broad range of roles in the sector. Everyone from frontline workers to managers and administration can access the leave.

  • Full-time, part-time, fixed-term, AND casual workers can all access the leave

  • The schemes often provide earlier access to long service leave. You can access your leave after 5 years in the ACT and after 7 years in Queensland.

  • There is usually a phase in period of between 5 to 7 years

  • The scheme is usually administered by an organisation established by legislation and governed by a mix of government, worker and employer representatives.

96% of workers support Portable Long Service Leave

The biggest benefit is ensuring that long term workers can have a paid break from the demands and intensity of our work to rest and rejuvenate.

  • Take an extended holiday

  • Spend time with family

  • Complete further education and training

  • Address health issues requiring rest or long periods of recovery while retaining your employment

74% of Employer Support Portable Long Service Leave

The biggest benefit to employers is the increased ability to recruit and retain workers in critical roles.

  • Make savings on reduced recruitment costs

  • Attract more workers by providing conditions similar to the public sector

  • Make savings in training costs as more workers stay in the sector

  • Medium to long term savings as the employer contributions gradually decrease over time

What are the benefits to the community

The biggest benefit to the community is ensuring better outcomes for clients.

  • Communities and clients receive better outcomes when supported by experienced workers

  • Workers will be able to follow clients to different services or funding packages without disadvantage

  • Long service leave will reduce burn out and experienced staff leaving the sector.

How can you help make portable long service leave happen?

The NSW Government will introduce legislation in 2024 to set up a PLSL scheme for community and disability workers in NSW.

We must build support and momentum for this to become a reality.


  1. If you are not already a member, join the union today  and be part of the campaign.

  2. Complete the survey and tell us why PLSL would make a difference for you.

  3. Email the crossbench asking them to support PLSL.

  4. Organise a workplace meeting today (book one using our online contact form or email

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