The purpose of this circular is to update our advice on the eligibility for employment in the Australian Public Service (APS) of ex-Telstra employees who receive a redundancy benefit on termination of their employment from Telstra after the Telstra (3) sale. This circular updates an earlier Commission circular 2003/5, dated 8 September 2003.
2. Clauses 4.4 and 4.4A of the Public Service Commissioner’s Directions (Directions) set out the arrangements applying to persons who have received a redundancy benefit from the Commonwealth and who are seeking employment in the APS.
- Under these provisions, there is a general prohibition on employment in the APS of persons who have received a redundancy benefit from an APS agency or a non-APS Commonwealth employer in the previous 12 months (a redundancy benefit recipient).
- However, there is some flexibility under the current arrangements for an agency head to engage a redundancy benefit recipient as either an ongoing or non-ongoing employee, where the employment is considered essential for their agency’s operations.
- An agency head is also generally required to either consult with, or seek the approval of, the Public Service Commissioner prior to engaging a redundancy benefit recipient.
3. These arrangements are explained in more detail in circular 2003/5, available on the Commission’s website.
Impact of the Telstra (3) sale
4. The restriction arrangements described above apply to persons who have received a redundancy benefit from an APS agency or a non-APS Commonwealth employer.
5. A non-APS Commonwealth employer is defined in the Dictionary to the Directions to include:
- the Australian Defence Force; and
- any other non-APS Commonwealth employer, whether or not the employer is established under an Act; and
- any other employer (including a company) in which the Commonwealth has a controlling interest.
6. Employees who received a redundancy benefit on termination of their employment from Telstra prior to 24 November 2006 will continue to be covered by the restriction arrangements set out in the Directions when applying for employment in the APS.
7. However, as from 24 November 2006, the Commonwealth no longer has a controlling interest in Telstra, and any Telstra employee who receives a redundancy benefit on or after that date will not be regarded as having received a redundancy benefit from the Commonwealth. Accordingly, the restriction arrangements as set out in the Directions do not apply to persons whose employment is terminated by Telstra on or after 24 November 2006.
Pre-employment checking procedures
8. The Commission has become aware of a number of instances in recent times of inadequacies in agencies’ pre-employment checking procedures. Agencies are reminded that information sought from a prospective employee prior to their engagement should establish whether the person has previous Commonwealth service and, if so, the reasons for the person leaving their previous employer. Where the person has been retrenched and has received a redundancy benefit in the preceding 12 months from either an APS agency or a non-APS Commonwealth employer, then the person can only be engaged as an APS employee in accordance with the provisions set out in clauses 4.4 and 4.4A of the Directions.
9. Further information on the matters raised in this circular is available from the APS Commission’s Employment Policy Adviceline—by phone on (02) 6202 3859 or e-mail employmentadvice [at] apsc.gov.au. It may be appropriate for more complex or sensitive queries to be dealt with in writing.
Acting Group Manager
30 November 2006