The Parliamentary Service is a separate entity from the Australian Public Service (APS). It employs staff under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 while the APS employs staff under the Public Service Act 1999.
However, there are specific arrangements in place for staff moving between the two Services.
Ongoing employees of either Service are able to apply for advertised jobs in the other Service, including jobs that are not generally open to members of the public.
Where an employee of one Service is successful for a job at a higher classification level in the other Service, the outcome is an engagement that is also treated as a promotion. The engagement of the person must be notified as such in the Public Service Gazette.
The outcome may be subject to review by a Promotion Review Committee where the promotion is to a reviewable classification. Employees from either Service who were applicants for the particular job may lodge applications for review against the decision.
The Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016 set out when the engagement of an ongoing Parliamentary Service employee as an ongoing APS employee takes effect.
The Parliamentary Service Determination 2013 sets out when the engagement of an ongoing APS employee as an ongoing Parliamentary Service employee takes effect.
Movements at the same or a lower classification level
Where a job is at the same or a lower classification level, an APS agency or a Parliamentary Service department can engage, as an ongoing employee, a person who is an ongoing employee in the other Service without having to satisfy the usual advertising and merit selection requirements that apply to ongoing engagements. Although this is an engagement (under section 26 of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999), in practice it operates in a similar manner as a transfer between APS agencies under section 26 of the Public Service Act 1999.
Where an ongoing employee moves on an ongoing basis from one Service to the other, their employment in the other Service ceases. Formal resignation is not required.
It is expected that no unnecessary barriers will be imposed on the employee when engaged in the other Service. This means that APS agencies should carefully consider whether it is necessary to impose conditions of engagement, such as probation. The intent of the arrangements is to make movement between the two Services as similar as possible to movement within and between APS agencies.
Where there are specific requirements that must be satisfied in relation to the duties being filled, for instance where a certain level of physical fitness is needed, the agency should check whether a Parliamentary Service employee satisfies those requirements before making an offer of employment and imposing certain conditions of engagement.
In accordance with section 26 of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999, ongoing employees ‘moving’ from one Service to the other retain their existing or accrued entitlements relating to annual leave and personal or carer’s leave (however described) subject to the gaining agency’s ‘portability of leave term’ in its enterprise agreement or other employment instrument. Where an employee takes a break between cessation and commencement with the services, portability of leave may be denied if such a break is not provided in an agency enterprise agreement term.
Service for long service leave and maternity leave purposes is dealt with under the relevant Commonwealth legislation. Generally, service is recognised in accordance with the Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976, provided any break in service is not greater than 12 months. For service to count for paid maternity leave provided by the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 there must be no break in service.
Eligibility for paid adoption or foster carer leave is provided by each agency’s enterprise agreement term however, generally, they tend to mirror the maternity leave requirements.
An ongoing Parliamentary Service employee can be engaged under section 22(2)(b) of the Public Service Act 1999 as a non-ongoing APS employee for a period of up to three years (or 5 years for non-ongoing SES). If the job is for more than 18 months, then the requirements of the Directions concerning advertising and merit selections must be followed.
An ongoing APS employee can be engaged under section 22(2)(b) of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 as a non-ongoing Parliamentary Service employee for a period of up to three years. The usual merit selection arrangements that apply in the Parliamentary Service to non-ongoing engagements of more than 12 months do not apply in these circumstances, but may be part of the parliamentary department’s internal process.
Ongoing employees of either Service who want to take up a temporary job in the other Service may apply for leave without pay from their home agency or parliamentary department for the period of the non-ongoing engagement. The granting of leave is at the discretion of the home agency or parliamentary department. Where leave without pay is granted, section 26A of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 provides that:
- the employee retains his or her existing or accrued entitlements relating to annual leave and personal or carer’s leave (however described) in respect of employment in the home Service;
- when the employee returns to the home Service, they will retain their existing or accrued entitlements relating to annual leave and personal or carer’s leave in respect of employment in the other Service;
- the period of leave without pay counts as service for all purposes except accrual of annual leave or personal or carer’s leave (however described);
- service for long service leave and maternity leave purposes is dealt with under the relevant Commonwealth legislation; and
- Portability of accrued leave entitlements and recognition of prior service is usually described in the relevant agency or Parliamentary Service department’s enterprise agreement or other employing instrument.
For example, where an employee has been granted leave without pay from the APS to temporarily join the Parliamentary Service, the employee’s unused accrued annual leave and personal leave credits (however described) will be transferred to the Parliamentary Service upon formal advice from their APS agency and subject to breaks in continuity of service.
The employee will accrue entitlements during their engagement in the Parliamentary Service, but will not accrue entitlements for the period of leave without pay from the APS.
When the employee returns to the APS, the employee’s unused accrued annual leave and personal leave credits (however described) will be transferred back from the Parliamentary Service to the APS, upon formal advice from the Parliamentary Service department and subject to breaks in continuity of service.
An employee’s service in each Service will be recognised in the other for long service leave purposes.
Where leave without pay is not granted from one Service, an employee would have the option of resigning from their current ongoing employment to take up the offer of a job in the other Service.
There are no specific provisions relating to non-ongoing employees of either Service applying for jobs in the other Service. The usual arrangements in relation to the engagement of non-ongoing employees in each Service apply. Relevant accrued entitlements, for non-ongoing employees in either Service, continue to be paid out at the end of the employee’s employment, including where there is no offer of continued employment.
Transferring leave entitlements when employees move between Services
Further information on the mechanisms for transferring the funding for leave entitlements is available in Department of Finance Estimates Memorandum 2014/49.