Almost 400,000 Western Australian workers remaining in the State Industrial Relations system are set to gain from improvements to long service leave entitlements under plans to bring WA into line with other States.
Thousands of dollars of benefits for individuals will be unlocked by allowing workers to claim pro rata long service payments after seven years, instead of 10, and to take pro rata long service leave after 10 years, instead of waiting till they mature at 15.
Employment Protection Minister John Bowler is having legislation drafted after personally reviewing the entitlements in other States and believing it is totally unacceptable that workers in the nation's economic engine room are currently receiving long service leave benefits falling well below those in other States.
“It is another example of WA workers carrying the nation, yet missing out on the benefits for all their dedicated hard work,” Mr Bowler said.
“Sadly, those workers in the private sector who will next week be captured by the Federal Liberal Government’s WorkChoices legislation, will remain with the worst long service leave provisions in Australia and with other conditions which are generally below the standards experienced in other States.”
While public sector workers already enjoy the entitlements, the Minister said those in the private sector should also be entitled to them. The move is expected to affect more than 50,000 WA businesses.
“Employers keen to retain experienced and productive workers should welcome these reforms which provide an appropriate recognition of the value and experience of long serving employees,” Mr Bowler said.
He said the change would enable WA workers to take up to eight and two-third weeks of long service leave after 10 years’ service with one employer and pro rata leave after seven years’ service. Currently WA entitlements are 13 weeks’ leave after 15 years’ service and pro rata after 10 years.
While unions supported the plan, Mr Bowler said he had already begun urgent discussions with business groups about how the changes could best be implemented.
Minister's office: 9222 9699