NDS members are encouraged to check whether they need to register now for the new Portable Long Service Scheme (the Scheme). Whilst NDIS-funded activity has been excluded from the scheme until 1 January 2020, employers with workers undertaking “community services work”, as defined by the Act, may need to register now.
There are a number of tests laid out in the legislation and regulation which determine whether or not an individual employee will be impacted. Firstly, there is a test as to whether the organisation is covered and at this level there are exclusions for organisations which predominantly provide health or residential aged care work (as defined by the regulations).
If an organisation is covered by the Scheme, it is possible that not all of their employees are covered. At the employee level, there are several tests, one of which excludes employees based on their employment award. Another employee test is regarding the predominant activity of the individual’s substantive role. As per the regulations, if the predominant activity of the individual’s substantive role is not the personal delivery of services or the personal performance of activities that are community services work they are considered not to be a community services employee for the purposes of the Scheme.
From this, it may be understood that any person who does not personally deliver services considered to be “community services work” for the purposes of the Scheme is not covered by the Scheme. For many organisations this may mean, for example, that administrative or executive management staff who do not deliver direct support will be excluded.
Similarly, if the predominant activity of an employee’s role (on the whole) is in the Scheme then that employee is under the Scheme. This will be further impacted by the fact that, from the introduction of the Scheme on 1 July 2019 to 1 January 2020, NDIS-funded activities are not considered to be community services work for the purposes of the Scheme. During this time, for organisations covered by the Scheme, employees whose predominant activity is to deliver NDIS-funded services are likely to be excluded from the Scheme until they are brought in on 1 January 2020 (given they fulfill other relevant tests).
If an organisation is not covered by the Scheme, there is no way that their employees can be covered (with respect to their organisation).
The Portable Long Service Authority has a new website and helpline (1800 517 158). In determining whether they and their employees are covered by the Scheme, providers are encouraged to contact the Authority, as well as consult the legislation and regulations.