The purpose of this circular is to advise of an amendment to the provisions of the Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 1999 (the Directions) dealing with the engagement of redundancy benefit recipients. This circular updates Circular 2003/5 of 8 September 2003.
2. Clauses 4.4 and 4.4A of the Directions set out the arrangements that agencies must follow when proposing to engage, as an Australian Public Service (APS) employee, a person who has received a redundancy benefit from Commonwealth employment in the previous 12 months. These clauses have been amended to include certain former employees of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC) in the coverage of these arrangements.
- The MDBC was formerly a joint Commonwealth-State funded body and its staff were not Commonwealth employees.
- Following a decision by the Council of Australian Governments to bring together the MDBC and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) into a single APS agency (to be known as the MDBA), MDBC employees were offered employment in the APS under the machinery of government provisions of the Public Service Act 1999 (the Act) on broadly equivalent terms and conditions of employment. The overwhelming majority of MBDC staff have accepted the APS offer of employment in the MDBA.
Scope of the amendments
3. The effect of the amendment to the Directions is to provide that any former MDBC employee who did not accept the APS offer of employment made under paragraph 72(1)(d) of the Act and who subsequently received a redundancy benefit from the MDBC will be covered by the arrangements in clause 4.4A of the Directions in relation to the subsequent employment of redundancy benefit recipients. The term ‘redundancy benefit’ is defined in clause 4.4 of the Directions.
4. These changes are given effect by the Public Service Commissioner’s Amendment Directions 2008 (No. 2) which is available on the Commission’s website. A consolidated version of the Directions, including this amendment, is also available on the Commission’s website.
5. The Amendment Directions are subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, which means that a notice of disallowance may be given in either House of Parliament within 15 sitting days of tabling. Should such a notice be given, the Amendment Directions may be disallowed by resolution of either House. In the event of disallowance, the Directions, as they existed before 15 December 2008, would be revived from the date of disallowance. Further advice will be issued should disallowance occur.
6. Agencies should ensure that their pre-engagement procedures are amended to reflect this change to the Directions. Applicants for employment in the APS need to be made aware that receipt of a redundancy benefit from an APS agency, a non-APS Commonwealth employer or the MDBC (in circumstances where the person rejected an offer of employment in the APS made under paragraph 72(1)(d) of the Act) in the previous 12 months means that they are covered by the arrangements set out in clauses 4.4 and 4.4A of the Directions relating to the employment of redundancy benefit recipients.
7. Agencies’ corporate areas can obtain further information on the matters raised in this and other circulars from the 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. Individual APS employees should contact the corporate area in their own agency in the first instance.
18 December 2008