Assignment of duties within an APS agency

Last updated: 09 Dec 2016

This page is: current

The following information is about the assignment of duties to an employee by an agency head.

Information for APS employees looking to change jobs in the APS.

Information on the movement of APS employees following a promotion.

Information on the movement of APS employees between APS agencies at their existing or a lower classification level.

Assignment of duties

An agency head may at any time determine the duties to be performed by an APS employee and the location at which those duties are to be performed.

An agency head will assign duties to an employee when the employee

  • is engaged in the agency, or
  • moves to the agency following:
    • a move at the same or a lower classification level
    • a promotion.

A decision to assign duties should be based on an assessment of:

  • the work value of the duties to be performed, in accordance with the APS Work Level Standards
  • the employee's work-related qualities and the work-related qualities required to perform the duties.

Decisions in relation to the assignment of duties must be consistent with the APS Values and Employment Principles.

Changing duties in an agency           

At the same classification level

An employee can be re-assigned to a different set of duties at his or her existing classification within an agency. This may be the result of a voluntary transfer at level or may be a re-assignment of duties by the agency head, taking account of operational needs in the agency. There is no requirement to advertise a vacancy in these circumstances.

Lower classification

An employee can agree to be assigned duties at a lower classification for a temporary or ongoing period.

  • Where the reduction in classification is for a temporary period, the substantive classification of an employee remains the higher classification.
  • Where the reduction in classification is for an ongoing period, any subsequent move by the employee to a higher classification is a promotion and must be the result of a process based on merit. See Promotions for more information.

An employee cannot be assigned duties at a lower classification without their consent, other than in exceptional circumstances. These circumstances are described in subsection 23(4) of the PS Act. Such a reduction cannot be for a specified time (i.e. it is an ongoing reduction).

Temporary move to a higher classification

An employee can agree to be assigned duties at a higher classification for a temporary period, subject to individual agency arrangements. The employee's substantive classification is not changed.

This is not a promotion, as a promotion applies to an ongoing period.

When temporarily assigning duties at a higher classification, it is good practice to consider:

  • whether it is more appropriate for the duties to be performed on an ongoing basis
  • the relative importance to the agency of the duties and other duties in the agency
  • the need for career development opportunities.

Where the period of higher duties may be for a lengthy period, it is good practice to advertise and conduct an open competitive selection process. Such an assessment can be made without a formal process and without notifying the job in the Public Service Gazette.

An employee can move to another agency on a temporary basis under section 26 of the Act and be assigned duties at a higher classification.

Ongoing move to a higher classification

When an employee is promoted to an ongoing position, their substantive classification changes to the higher level on an ongoing basis.

See Promotions for more information.

Advancement through a broadband

Advancement to a higher classification within an established broadband is not considered a promotion (see Promotions).

However, agencies should ensure that as each employee advances through a broadband, the employee's APS classification is adjusted to reflect the work value of the duties being performed.

Changing location

An employee can be required by their agency head to perform their duties at another location, subject to individual agency arrangements.

Agencies should act fairly and reasonably, and consider the needs of the employee and the operational efficiency of the agency.

Moving between agencies

On engagement or movement to an agency, an employee is assigned duties according to the position they will fill.
Following a promotion, an employee's substantive classification changes to the higher level on an ongoing basis.

See Movement between APS agencies for more information

Review of decision to assign, or re-assign, duties

Under certain circumstances, decisions to assign or reassign duties may be subject to review by the Merit Protection Commissioner.

For further information see Office of the Merit Protection Commissioner.

Legislation