Call to end long-term furloughs as they are ‘obsolete’ for Gen Z and the millennial workforce

An Australian workplace coach who thinks long-term company loyalty is dead is calling for an end to long-term leave.

Australian employees are entitled to seniority leave under National Employment Standards.

Details vary depending on state law and industry instruments, such as an award or agreement, but it is designed to reward people on paid leave who have worked seven to 15 years continuously. with the same employer.

Some states like Victoria have a new portable long-term leave scheme for community service, contract cleaning and security workers, meaning they can accumulate long-term entitlements and transfer them from job to job. the other.

Victoria Mills, who has been a workplace coach for 20 years and founded Australian start-up Hello Coach, believes the concept of long-term leave is outdated.

“While it may have worked as an incentive for previous generations, long-term employee loyalty is quickly becoming a thing of the past,” she said.

“Australian leaders would be better off spending their money on strategies to retain staff here and now rather than expecting a payout a decade from now will incentivize staff to stay.”

Ms Mills thinks the program doesn’t fit Australia’s current ‘Tinder workforce’, where if employees aren’t happy with their current workplace, they’ll just ‘slip’ to the next one use.

She pointed a Future of Education Report 2021 by McCrindle Research which predicts that today’s students will have 18 jobs in six careers over their lifetime.

Indeed, the workforce has become increasingly digital and mobile, leading to “adaptable and fluid” career paths.

The latest job mobility data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that of the 13.4 million people employed in the country in February, 55% had been in their job for less than five years.

About 21% had been in their job for less than a year, down from about 18% the previous year.

Only 11 percent of those employed 11 percent had been in their current job for 20 years or more.

In the year to February, 1.3 million people (or 9.5% of those employed) changed jobs, the highest annual rate of job mobility since 2012 .

Ms Mills said Australian businesses were under ‘incredible pressure’ to retain and attract talent, and needed to think about what they could offer their staff today – including more up-front bonus structures, education and welfare.

“We are currently experiencing the biggest generational shift in the workforce that we have seen in half a century. The youngest baby boomers are leaving and in their place come the leaders of Gen X and Millennials,” she said.

“It’s a mobile generation and they want flexibility. They don’t feel pressured to stay in a job like their previous counterparts and employers have to adapt to that. asked Ms Mills how employees could be assured companies would give them other benefits in lieu of long-term leave if it were to be scrapped.

“It’s really important that workers are protected by government schemes, but in this case society has changed and job structures and protections have to change with it,” she said.

“I would certainly support policymakers who rebuild rewards to make them more relevant to workers in this century, which could involve mandatory benefit entitlements in the ‘now’.”

The concept of long-term leave in Australia is said to date back to the 19th century, when long-serving civil servants had time to return home to Britain.

Ray Markey, emeritus professor of labor relations at Macquarie University, told ABC in 2019: ‘The time they got was about the time it took for a round trip on a clipper sailboat – two weeks in the country of origin and then back again.”

When asked what the Australian Council of Trade Unions thought of the call for the abolition of long-term leave, Deputy Secretary Liam O’Brien said it was an important right that needed to be “adapted to our modern economy, not dismantled”.

‘Long-term leave and all other forms of leave should be portable between jobs and follow workers through their careers,’ he told

“Like our bargaining laws, the laws governing this right are no longer in sync with the workings of the workforce and should be modernized.”

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