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The ACT Portable Long Service Leave Scheme expanded to include the Hair and Beauty Industry

The Long Service Leave (Portable Schemes) Amendment Act 2023 (‘the Amendment’) will expand the ACT’s current portable long service leave scheme to also include the hairdressing and beauty services industry, and the accommodation and food services industry.

The current portable long services leave scheme (‘portable LSL scheme’) in the ACT already covers several industries including building and construction, contract cleaning, the community sector and security services. However, the Amendment will introduce a new ‘services industry scheme’ which will combine the existing contract cleaning industry scheme with the hairdressing and beauty services, and accommodation and food services industries.

The expansion of the existing scheme to includes these sectors is aimed to address the highly mobile nature of work in these industries. The portable LSL scheme aims to allow workers in sectors which generally operate on more insecure work arrangements, such as short-term contracts or highly casualised workforces, a pathway to access LSL entitlements based on their overall service within the industry and not based on their service with one specific employer. The expansion of the scheme marks a similar shift in line with more recent legislative changes, such as the Closing Loopholes Bill, which aim to address areas of improvement for employee entitlements and rights in the workplace. The ACT government has indicated that further expansion of the scheme to include industries such as retail, real estate and travel agencies may still be possible in the future as well.

Who does the ‘hairdressing and beauty services industry’ cover? 

The ACT Government has published information that outlines that the hairdressing and beauty services industry will include:

· Hairdressers, barber’s and hairdressing apprentices – undertaking work activities such as hair cutting, colouring and styling, and hair restoration – except hair transplants

· Beauty services – including make-up applications, facials, non-medical skin care services, non-medical or physiotherapy treatment massage services, and electrolysis and waxing (hair removal) services

· Nail care and nail art services - including manicures and pedicures, and nail services using acrylic, polygel and powder dipping systems

· Tanning (spray) services

The published information around how the legislation will apply to businesses performing massage services has been a little unclear. The ACT Long Service Leave Authority (also known as ACT Leave) provided us with the following answer to our questions around this:

“I confirm that massage services in general are not considered under coverage of the Services Industry scheme (i.e. Hairdressing & Beauty Services). The scheme focuses on services within the meaning of class 9511 of ANZSIC (e.g. beauty services such as nail care and make-up), whereas therapeutic massaging services (allied health) falls under class 8539 of ANZSIC and massage parlour operation (brothel keeping and prostitution services) falls under class 9534 of ANSZIC.

However, if there are some workers within the business that perform beauty services rather than massage services, ACT Leave may still require to make a determination as to whether coverage applies.”

We, therefore, consider that businesses solely focused on massage services are unlikely to be covered by the new scheme, whereas a business that provides beauty and massage services should contact ACT Leave for confirmation as to which (if any) of their employees will be covered by the scheme.

What changes will be introduced?

Under the new portable LSL scheme, employers within these industries will now be required to register with the ACT Leave Authority. The scheme will require employers to complete quarterly returns in order to provide ACT Leave with information around the details of staff that performed work during that period, the amount of remuneration that was paid to each worker and the number of days or part-days that was worked by each worker during that quarter. Finally, along with each quarterly return, employers will also be required to pay a certain levy to ACT Leave although this amount is yet to be set by the Minister.

In the ACT employees become entitled to long service leave once they have reached 7 years of service with their employer. Once the changes have come into effect, however, the expansion of the portable LSL scheme will mean that employees within the hairdressing and beauty services industry and accommodation and food services industry will be entitled to long service leave once they reach 7 years of service within their industry; regardless if they have been employed by a singular or multiple employers during this time. Employees will be able to either apply directly to ACT Leave for payment relating to their long service leave or alternatively may elect to take leave directly from their employer as permitted under the Long Service Leave Act 1976. Where an employee seeks payment directly from the business, the employer will be able to seek reimbursement for such payment from ACT Leave. An employee will not be able ‘double dip’ meaning they cannot apply for payment for their long service leave from their employer and from ACT Leave at the same time, they will need to elect one of these pathways to seek payment from.

When do these changes come into effect?

The new provisions commenced on 11 April 2025.

How can employers prepare for these changes?

Employers in these industries will need to register with ACT Leave and should familiarise themselves with the reporting and other requirements which will come into effect under this scheme. Further information and registration details can be found here:

Will other states introduce similar LSL provisions?

These changes have only currently been introduced for employers based in the ACT, and no other states or territories have portable long service leave schemes that include the hairdressing and beauty industry. However, some employee groups within the industry are pushing for such changes to be introduced in other states, although there is no indication as of yet that this will eventuate.

Need further guidance?

If you need any assistance understanding these changes, or your obligations as an employer, ABIC Clinic Members can reach out to the ABIC HR advisory team for further guidance or contact an ABIC Facilitators on 1800MYABIC (1800 692 242).


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