A range of professional development opportunities are available to all employees.1
Ministerial and Parliamentary Services provides a Professional Development Program each year, which includes ‘Know Your Entitlements and WHS Obligations’, and ‘Office Management’ information sessions.
Details of each training session and registration forms are published in the Professional Development Program training calendar.2
Studies assistance is available for accredited courses undertaken for a qualification under the Australian Qualifications Framework and considered relevant to the employee’s employment. Employees are not required to seek approval of studies assistance prior to the commencement of the relevant semester or period of study; however, employees should be aware of the potential financial risk of not obtaining prior approval. Employees cannot access study leave or financial assistance until their application for studies assistance is supported by the employing Senator or Member and approved by the Department of Finance.
Employees may be entitled to the following:
- paid study leave of up to five hours per week which may be pooled and accessed over the period of study
- reimbursement of up to $10,000 per financial year of compulsory tuition and course fees, examination fees, and HELP payments, subject to satisfactory completion of the course. (Administrative fees, student union fees, books, travel, accommodation and/or similar costs will not be reimbursed.)3
Reimbursement, and the maximum reimbursement threshold, will be pro rata for part-time employees or where an employee commences employment under the MOP(S) Act during the relevant semester.4
Where an electorate employee is engaged to replace a person on paid study leave, the costs will be met from the electorate support budget.5
Full details, including how to apply for studies assistance, are in the Studies Assistance Guideline to the Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Enterprise Agreement 2012-2015 (Enterprise Agreement).6
Reimbursement is available to political parties and to Independent Senators and Members for the costs of training MOP(S) Act employees. The amount of reimbursement is capped, and is paid subject to compliance with conditions that are advised in writing each year by the Special Minister of State.
All MOP(S) Act employees have access to computer training at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Training is administered by the Department of Parliamentary Services and includes online courses and face-to-face training provided by a contracted computer training supplier in capital cities and major regional locations throughout Australia.7
The cost of travel to attend this training is met by Ministerial and Parliamentary Services for employees whose travel is otherwise subject to the electorate support budget. To ensure the costs of travel are not debited against the electorate support budget, employees should inform the travel service provider, at the time of booking, of the purposes of the travel, and should clearly mark their travelling allowance claim as being for computer systems training.8
Employees may access other professional development activities (within Australia only) that satisfy their individual development needs. This may include attendance at events such as courses, seminars, workshops and conferences. These events must be relevant to the employee’s duties, tasks and responsibilities, represent value for money, and should not duplicate a learning and development opportunity provided as part of the Professional Development Program.
If employees wish Ministerial and Parliamentary Services to cover the cost of an ad hoc professional development event, including forums and seminars offered by the Parliamentary Departments at Parliament House, approval must be sought by submitting the Application to Attend Ad Hoc Training form (Form 113) to the relevant Entitlements Manager. Employees are encouraged to seek prior approval as no reimbursement of costs will be made without the approval of Ministerial and Parliamentary Services and the support of the employing Senator or Member.9
Consult the Enterprise Agreement and Guidelines for further information.
The Parliament House website has information about forthcoming forums and seminars conducted by the Department of the Senate and the Department of the House of Representatives.
1 Clauses 66 and 67 of the Enterprise Agreement.
2 Clause 67.2 of the Enterprise Agreement and paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Enterprise Agreement Guideline: Learning and Professional Development.
3 Clauses 67.3 and 67.4 of the Enterprise Agreementand paragraphs 1, 5, 19, 20 and 23 of the Enterprise Agreement Guideline: Studies Assistance..
4 Clause 67.5 of the Enterprise Agreement.
5 Item 33(c) of Determination 2015/10: Staff Travel and Relief Staff Arrangements, made under the MOP(S)Act, on 26 June 2015.
6 See the Enterprise Agreement Guideline: Studies Assistance.
7 Paragraph 2 of the Enterprise Agreement Guideline: Learning and Professional Development..
8 Paragraph 30 of the Enterprise Agreement Guideline: Domestic Travel.
9 Clauses 67.9 and 67.10 of the Enterprise Agreement and paragraphs 8-11 of the Enterprise Agreement Guideline: Learning and Professional Development.