Temporary employment: Unplugged

Last updated: 30 Nov 2017

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Key information

A person can be employed under the Public Service Act 1999 on a non-ongoing (temporary) basis.

Time limits for non-ongoing (temporary) employment contracts

Where the duties of the job are required for a specified period of time—the job has a nominated end date.

  • A person can be employed for an initial period of up to 18 months.
  • If the duties being performed are still required at the end of 18 months, employment can be extended up to a total maximum period of 3 years.
  • A temporary SES position that has been advertised in the Public Service Gazette can be filled for a total maximum period of five years.

Where the duties of the job are associated with a specified task—the length of the employment contract is related to the completion of that particular task.

Where the duties are required from time to time (on a casual basis)—these jobs are usually required for one-off short term tasks or where there is no regular pattern of work.

Recruiting to fill a non-ongoing (temporary) job

All vacant APS jobs must be brought to the attention of the community, for example through agency websites, job seeker sites, social media and/or making use of a Temporary Employment Register.

APS jobs for a period of 18 months or less do not need to be advertised on the APSJobs website, although they can be.

As a minimum requirement, the person selected must have the work-related qualities required to perform the duties of the job.

Ending a non-ongoing (temporary) employment contract

No action is required where a temporary contract comes to its nominated end date.

Employment of a non-ongoing (temporary) employee can be ended at any time by notice in writing.

Agency enterprise agreements or individual employment contracts can include arrangements for compensation where employment is terminated before the nominated end date or completion of a specified task.

In any case, where employment is terminated early, the person may be entitled to notice of termination and redundancy pay in accordance with the National Employment Standards (NES). While this sets a minimum requirement, compensation for early termination must also be reasonable and take account of individual employment circumstances.

More information

Temporary employment: Legislation

Recruitment: Legislation

Terminating employment: Legislation

More information for HR practitioners is on the APSC website at Management essentials.

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