What is mobility?
Mobility is the temporary movement of capability—skills and experiences, as represented by people—within and between APS agencies, other jurisdictions, and the private sector, including academia and not-for-profit organisations. Mobility can happen through the initiative of an agency or an individual. It can be achieved through secondments, temporary transfers, leave without pay arrangements, and even informal verbal agreements between organisations. Employees often move locations as part of these arrangements, but it’s also possible for moves to be virtual.
The benefits of mobility
Targeted use of mobility provides a range of benefits for both employees and organisations.
Benefits to employees
- Broadens knowledge and deepens specialist skills, improving versatility and adaptability.
- Develops professional networks, widening career prospects and cultivating interpersonal skills.
- Increases understanding and engagement within the APS, and across sectors.
Benefits to home organisations
- Contributes to the diversity of skills and experiences within an organisation to tackle problems and deliver solutions.
- Widens organisational networks, supporting APS priorities and building understanding across agencies and sectors.
- Helps organisations build, attract and retain critical and emerging talent and skill sets.
Benefits to host organisations
- Offers fresh insights and perspectives, providing knowledge and expertise that uplifts team capability.
- Addresses workforce pressures, capability gaps and organisational priorities.
- Establishes collaborative relationships, forging stronger links across agencies and sectors.
We have been able to provide very niche technical expertise for medium term redeployments to the Department of Health for epidemiologists during the COVID-19 pandemic response. This would have been costly for Health to recruit for and some of these re-deployment assignments have turned into temporary transfers. These opportunities have again benefitted both the individual and Health as host agency while not negatively impacting business operations for our department.- Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Types of arrangements for temporary moves between organisations
Micro-assignments and informal arrangements
- Short-term or part-time collaboration, often associated with a single project or task
- One day to a few months
- No pay-roll implications - ASL remains with home organisation
- Employee is often ‘shared’ between the organisations (for example a two-three day split, or week on week off)
- Supported by an informal agreement rather than a full Memorandum of Understanding – often an email only
- Employee often works remotely off their usual work device or via a sharing platform like GovTEAMS – employee access to the host agency’s network or offices may not be needed
- Collaboration with another agency on a task or project
- Temporary moves between agencies with a close working relationship
- Temporary moves under an existing head agreement
This type of mobility is typically associated with a LOW level of risk
- Most common approach for temporary moves
- Usually 1 – 12 months
- Employee retains pay and conditions in line with the home organisation’s enterprise agreement and remains on home organisation’s payroll
- ASL remains with home organisation
- Can be at-level, with higher duties, or at a lower classification if all parties agree
- Employee can be ‘shared’ between the organisations if desired (for example a two – three day split, or week on week off)
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or Secondment Agreement sets out how the arrangement will work
- Surge deployments
- Job swaps
- Taskforces and Royal Commissions
- Embedding an expert into a project team
- Short term, low-risk moves to non-APS organisations
This type of mobility is typically associated with a MODERATE level of risk
Temporary transfer under s 26 of the Public Service Act 1999
- used only between APS agencies
- usually 3 months or more
- employee moves to the host agency and receives pay and conditions in line with the host agency’s enterprise agreement and is paid via the host agency’s payroll
- ASL is attributed to the host organisation
- can be at-level, with higher duties, or at a lower classification if all parties agree
- employee moves administratively between the two agencies and for all practical purposes becomes an employee of the host agency
- Surge deployments where conditions or working arrangements are incompatible between agencies
- Long placements, for example to task forces, Royal Commissions or other expert roles
- Roles where the person moving must be an employee (for example to exercise financial delegations or powers under legislation)
This type of move is typically associated with MODERATE to HIGH level of risk
Leave Without Pay (LWOP)
- access to LWOP arrangements differs by organisation and is set out in enterprise agreements and organisation policies
- usually 6 months to 2 years
- most commonly used for temporary moves outside the APS (e.g. to the private sector or to an international institution)
- employee is employed by the host organisation and is subject to their agreement or requirements
- seeking outside employment during a LWOP arrangement is usually agreed in writing with the employee and home organisation delegate, but there is usually no formal agreement between the host and home organisation
- Sabbaticals and long-term placements outside the APS
- Roles where the person must be a formal employee rather than a secondee (for example state, territory or local government roles)
- Roles requiring arms-length independence from the Commonwealth or where there are conflict of interest challenges to navigate (for example some academic, private or not-for-profit sector roles)
This type of mobility is typically associated with a HIGHER level of risk.