The Australian Capital Territory’s Commissioner for Public Administration has advised that recent amendments to the ACT Public Sector Management Standards 2006 will impact on the calculation of redundancy benefits for certain Australian Public Service (APS) employees who have prior service with the ACT Public Service (ACTPS).
2. The practice whereby the ACTPS could authorise a payment to an APS employee who has prior ACTPS service and who is made redundant by their APS agency has been discontinued with effect from 10 June 2009.
APS arrangements for recognition of prior service
3. APS agency agreements and other instruments setting terms and conditions of employment will normally specify what types of prior service will be recognised as service for redundancy pay purposes for non-Senior Executive Service employees.
4. Historically, the APS-wide redundancy provisions (set out in the APS Award and its predecessors) have provided that prior service with a State or Territory public service (including the ACTPS) will not be recognised for the calculation of an employee’s APS redundancy benefit (except in cases where employees are moved between jurisdictions as a result of an administrative re-arrangement- see paragraphs 9 to 12 below).
5. Consistent with the ‘no enhancement of current redundancy arrangements’ requirement of the current Australian Government Employment Bargaining Framework (and the previous Policy Parameters), most agency arrangements have retained the former APS-wide provisions in relation to the recognition of prior service.
ACTPS arrangements for the recognition of prior service
6. Under the redundancy arrangements that have operated in the ACTPS:
- Prior service with the APS has been recognised as service for redundancy pay purposes should the employee be made redundant by their ACTPS agency; and
- the ACTPS could contribute a pro-rata amount (in respect of the period of ACTPS service only) for APS employees with prior ACTPS service who move from the ACTPS to the APS and are then made redundant by their APS agency.
- the ACT’s liability in these circumstances, and the mechanism by which such payments could be made, were set out in ACT’s Public Sector Management Standards.
Scope of the changes
7. The recent changes to the Public Sector Management Standards means that the ACT will no longer contribute to an APS redundancy benefit where the APS employee has prior service with the ACTPS.
8. However, the ACTPS has advised that it will continue to recognise prior APS service where an employee is made redundant by their ACTPS agency. Employees moving to the ACTPS should be encouraged to confirm with their new employing agency what prior service will be recognised and what entitlements will carry over.
APS arrangements for persons compulsorily transferred to the ACTPS
9. As noted above, an exception to the general rule that the APS will not recognise State/Territory service for the calculation of an APS redundancy benefit is where:
- an APS employee is moved from the APS to a State/Territory public service as a result of an administrative re-arrangement and subsequently (voluntarily) rejoins the APS; or
- an employee is moved to the APS from a State/Territory public service as a result of an administrative re-arrangement; and
- the service with the State/Territory is recognised for long service leave purposes.
10. In the case of the ACTPS, at the time it was established as a separate entity on 1 July 1994, certain APS employees working on ACT functions ceased, by operation of Commonwealth legislation, to be officers or employees of the APS and were immediately appointed to, or employed in, the ACTPS by operation of ACT legislation.
11. For these employees moved to the ACTPS on 1 July 1994 who subsequently rejoin the APS, most APS agency agreements will provide that the prior period of APS service, the intervening period with the ACTPS, and the later period of APS service all count as service for redundancy pay purposes (subject to the usual continuity and other requirements that are set out in agreements being satisfied).
12. The recent ACTPS decision has no impact on these arrangements as the ACT never provided any separate funding for APS redundancies in these circumstances.
13. Agencies’ corporate areas can obtain further information on the matters raised in this and other circulars by contacting the Commission. 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.
14. However, any specific enquiries on the ACT’s decision to amend their Public Sector Management Standards in relation to this matter should be directed to Employment Policy, ACT Chief Minister’s Department on (02) 6205 2664.
Workplace Policy Group