Clause 8.3 of the Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Enterprise Agreement 2012-2015 (Enterprise Agreement) provides for an Employee Consultative Group (ECG) to be consulted on workplace issues pertaining to employees generally (as opposed to issues relating to individual employees or individual offices). Accordingly the role of the ECG will be to:
- provide a forum for staff employed under the Enterprise Agreement to raise matters of interest about the workplace or their employment;
- consult with staff employed under the Enterprise Agreement on workplace and employment matters which may be raised by the ECG, by staff employed under the Enterprise Agreement, by the Special Minister of State or by the Department of Finance (the Department);
- convey to the Special Minister of State, in his management role of the Members of Parliament Staff Act 1984 (MOP(S) Act) employment framework, the views of MOP(S) Act employees on workplace and employment matters;
- prepare advice to the Special Minister of State on workplace and employment matters affecting staff employed under the Enterprise Agreement; and
- be consulted by the Department on proposed changes to, or establishment of, guidelines or policies in relation to the Enterprise Agreement, where the proposed change affects employees.
The Department undertakes to include the views of the ECG in regular briefings to the Special Minister of State.
- There will be a total of eleven MOP(S) Act employees selected as representatives to the ECG as follows: Liberal Party of Australia (five representatives); Australian Labor Party (three representatives); The Nationals (one representative); Australian Greens (one representative); and Independent Senators and Members (one representative).
- In addition, a reserve list of MOP(S) Act employee representatives from each political party can be selected in anticipation of any resignation or unavailability of elected employee representative(s).
- Employee representatives will arrange for a MOP(S) Act employee from the reserve list to attend any meetings if they are unavailable.
Terms of Office
- MOP(S) Act employees and union representatives on the ECG will serve until, in the event of a Federal election, the selection of new employee representatives, (based on any revised party proportional basis), is finalised.
- If a MOP(S) Act employee representative ceases to be employed under the Enterprise Agreement, the representative will cease membership of the ECG. The representative may be replaced by an employee from the reserve list.
Operations of the ECG
- Meetings will be held on a regular basis as agreed by the ECG, with no less than four meetings per calendar year.
- A formal meeting of the ECG will only be constituted when there is attendance from at least one member from each of the following groups:
- employee representatives;
- union representatives; and
- management representatives, including a nominee of the Special Minister of State and/or representatives from the Department.
- The date and facilitator of each meeting will be agreed during the previous meeting.
- The role of facilitator will rotate between the MOP(S) Act employee members of the ECG.
- MOP(S) Act employees or their representatives may attend meetings of the ECG as observers, and at the request of the ECG, may be asked to provide information about specific issues. Observers may be requested to leave the meeting during discussions of a confidential nature.
- Agenda items will be called for four weeks before the meeting. Agenda items and any relevant papers should be provided to the Department so that they may be distributed to members at least three weeks prior to the meeting. Documents to be tabled by the Department should also be distributed to members at least three weeks prior to the meeting.
- The Department will endeavour to distribute the draft minutes to the ECG within five working days of the meeting. ECG members will have five working days to provide comments or suggested changes to the Department. The minutes will then be finalised and posted on the MOP(S) intranet site, unless a significant disagreement with the minutes has been notified to the Department.
Terms of reference agreed by the ECG on 20 June 2014.