Electorate Staff Allowance

Background

  1. ESA is paid in accordance with clause 34 of the Enterprise Agreement

General arrangements

  1. ESA is allocated to a position, not an employee. The ESA allocated to a position does not move with the employee if the employee moves to another position. A new employee will be paid the ESA allocated to the position against which they are employed.
  2. The levels of ESA are not derived from any particular salary point and are not classification dependent. However, it is generally expected that an employee in receipt of a higher level of ESA would work more additional hours, and/or undertake more official travel outside of business hours, than an employee in receipt of a lower level of ESA.
  3. The allocation of ESA does not mean that an employee is available for unlimited hours of work. The additional hours of work expected of an employee should be in proportion to the level of ESA paid to that employee.
  4. The payment of ESA to a part-time employee is pro rata based on the part-time hours of that employee. A part-time employee should not be expected to work full-time hours as a result of receiving ESA.
  5. It is expected that any reduction in the ESA paid to an employee will be accompanied by a reduction in the additional hours of work or official travel outside of business hours to be undertaken by that employee.

Consultation on the allocation or re-allocation of ESA

  1. In order to ensure that the expectations of Members are clear to their employees, and employees’ ability to work additional hours and undertake travel outside of business hours is known to the Member, Members should consult with employees on the allocation, and any re allocation, of ESA.
  2. Consultation should occur at any time when there is a change in the expectations of the employing Member about additional hours of work or travel outside of business hours, or the allocation of ESA changes, to ensure that these expectations remain transparent.
  3. If an employing Senator or Member does not consult with the relevant employees prior to the allocation or re-allocation of ESA, the Member should indicate why this has not occurred when completing the ESA allocation form.

Allocation of ESA

  1. Members have the flexibility to allocate one of seven levels of ESA to each established position in their office, subject to a cap set out at clause 34.3 of the Enterprise Agreement. The levels of ESA are detailed in Attachment D to the Enterprise Agreement.
  2. A Member with four electorate officer positions can allocate up to a total of 16 levels of ESA across the office, e.g. ESA6 + ESA4 + ESA4 + ESA2 = 16. A Member with five positions can allocate up to 18 levels and a Member with six positions can allocate up to 20 levels.
  3. A Member may choose not to allocate ESA to an established position if the employee(s) in the position is not required to work significant additional hours. A Member may also choose to allocate a lower ESA level where a higher ESA level is available, e.g. 4 x ESA2. There is no requirement to allocate all of the available ESA.
  4. An employee may elect not to receive ESA by indicating this on the ESA allocation form to be signed by both the employee and the employing Member. Where an employee elects not to receive ESA, the level of ESA allocated to the position(s) occupied by that employee does not change.
  5. An employee may elect to no longer receive ESA at any time. An employee may also elect to recommence the receipt of ESA at any time. The cessation or recommencement of ESA payments will be effective from the date that this advice is received by the Department.
  6. Where an electorate employee moves from one Member’s office to another Member’s office they will receive the level of ESA allocated to the position which they are moving into.
  7. All ESA allocations and re-allocations must be advised to the Department on an Electorate Staff Allowance Allocation form.
    Electorate Staff Allowance Allocation form.
  8. It is preferred that the employee signs the ESA allocation form, acknowledging that they have been advised of the ESA allocation for their position.
  9. The ESA allocated to each position in an office is listed in Monthly Management Reports. The level of ESA an employee receives is stated on their pay slip.

Employment against a position but paid from the Electorate Support Budget

  1. In some circumstances the engagement of an employee is due to the absence of another employee from a position, however, the replacement employee is paid from the Electorate Support Budget due to the type of absence, e.g. personal leave of less than one week or annual leave. Although ESA is not paid for employment against the Electorate Support Budget, in this case the employment is due to the vacant position and clause 34.14 of the Enterprise Agreement provides that ESA will be payable.
  2. The employing Member should advise the Department on the employment agreement if a replacement employee is engaged against the Electorate Support Budget to fill a vacant position. The Department will also require documentation, such as a leave application, to show that the position is vacant for that period.

Allocation of ESA by a newly elected Member

  1. A newly elected or appointed Member will have six weeks from the commencement of their term to notify the Department in writing of an ESA allocation. If the six-week timeframe is met, the payment of ESA will commence from the date that an employee commences in the relevant position. That is, the ESA allocation will be paid with retrospective effect.
  2. If a new Member does not meet the above timeframe, the payment of ESA will commence from up to six weeks prior to the Department receiving the allocation in writing, depending on the date that the employee commenced in the relevant position.
  3. These provisions apply only to the first allocation of ESA to a position. Any change in the level of ESA allocated to a position will be subject to the re-allocation provisions.

ESA allocation may be increased at any time

  1. A Member may allocate any unallocated ESA to an established position at any time in accordance with clause 34.8 of the Enterprise Agreement. Changes to ESA will be effective from the date the Department receives the ESA allocation advice.
    Example: a Member’s electorate office has the following ESA allocations in place:
      EOA - Sue EOA - Emily EOB - James EOC - Jennifer
    ESA Level 2 4 3 5

    As the Member has not allocated all of the ESA levels (allocated ESA = 14), the Member may increase the level of ESA allocated by a maximum of two levels. The Member chooses to increase Sue’s ESA by one level and keep one level of ESA in reserve.
      EOA - Sue EOA - Emily EOB - James EOC - Jennifer
    ESA Level 3 4 3 5
  2. An increase in ESA may be used in conjunction with clause 34.7 of the Enterprise Agreement where an established position becomes vacant, e.g. decreasing the ESA allocation of a vacant position and increasing the ESA allocation of another position (see below).

Re-allocation of ESA – commencement of the financial year

  1. The re-allocation of ESA under clause 34.6(a) – commencement of the financial year – must be notified to the Department in writing prior to 1 July. Changes to ESA will be effective from 1 July. Where the Department is not notified prior to 1 July the re allocation of ESA will not be made.

Re-allocation of ESA – office restructure, or a period of leave or temporary transfer of three months or longer

  1. The re-allocation of ESA as a result of an event described at clause 34.6(b) – office restructure – or 34.6(c) – commencing or ceasing a temporary transfer or leave of three months or longer – must be notified to the Department in writing no later than two weeks after the trigger event occurs. Changes to ESA will be effective from the date of the trigger event. Where the Department is notified more than two weeks after the trigger event the re-allocation of ESA will not be made.
  2. Where a Member re-allocates duties without changing the classification of electorate officer positions in the office, ESA cannot be re allocated.
  3. Members should not restructure their office for the sole purpose of reallocating ESA.
  4. Where an employee is on approved leave for three months or longer, the level of ESA the employee was receiving immediately before the leave commenced will be maintained for the period of leave (subject to leave at reduced pay). In these circumstances ESA may be re-allocated within the office on the employee’s commencement of leave and on their return to work.
    Example: Where an employee commences a period of 12 months maternity leave, and is eligible for paid maternity leave, the 16 weeks of paid leave will include the level of ESA that the employee was receiving immediately prior to commencing leave. The employing Member may re-allocate the levels of ESA in the office within two weeks of the employee commencing maternity leave and again within two weeks of the employee returning to work.
  5. Where an employee is temporarily transferred to another Member’s office for three months or longer, ESA may be re-allocated within the first employing Member’s office on the employee’s commencement of the temporary transfer and on their return. The first employing Member may re-allocate the levels of ESA in the office within two weeks of the employee commencing their temporary transfer and again within two weeks of the employee returning to the office.
  6. Where a temporary transfer or a period of approved leave is extended so that the total period of the transfer or leave becomes more than three months, the employing Member may re-allocate the levels of ESA in the office. The re-allocation must be notified to the Department in writing no later than two weeks after the commencement of that extension of the temporary transfer or period of leave. Changes to ESA will be effective from the date of the commencement of the extension of the temporary transfer or period of leave. ESA may not be re-allocated as a result of any subsequent extension of temporary transfer or leave.
  7. Where an employee is on leave for less than three months, the level of ESA that they receive will be subject to change in accordance with clause 34 of the Enterprise Agreement.

Re-allocation of ESA – vacant position

  1. The increase or decrease of ESA allocated to a vacant position under clause 34.7 of the Enterprise Agreement must be notified to the Department no later than two weeks after the vacant position is filled. Changes to ESA will be effective from the date of receipt of the ESA re-allocation advice by the Department where this is before or on the date the position is filled. Where the ESA re-allocation advice is received by the Department within two weeks after the position is filled, changes to ESA will be effective from the date the position is filled. Where the Department is notified more than two weeks after the position is filled, the ESA allocated to the position will not be changed.
    Example: a Member’s electorate office has the following ESA allocations in place:
      EOA - Sue EOA - Emily EOB - James EOC - Jennifer
    ESA Level 2 4 3 5

    James resigns, and Emily is promoted to the EOB position. As both positions have a vacancy, the Member may change the level of ESA to each of these positions. Note: Once Emily commences in the EOB position, the Member has two weeks to notify the Department of any change in the level of ESA applying to the EOB position. The two week deadline does not apply to the EOA position until it is filled.

    The Member increases the ESA of the EOB position to ESA4, and decreases the ESA of the EOA position to ESA3.

      EOA - Sue EOA - Vacant EOB - Emily EOC - Jennifer
    ESA Level 2 3 4 5

    This provision may be used in conjunction with clause 34.8 of the Enterprise Agreement, i.e. decreasing the ESA of a vacant position and increasing the ESA of another position. The Member may choose to decrease the ESA of the vacant EOA to zero and increase the ESA of Sue’s EOA to ESA3, leaving four levels of ESA available to be allocated at any time, if required.
      EOA - Sue EOA - Vacant EOB - Emily EOC - Jennifer
    ESA Level 3 0 4 5
  2. Where a person employed against a position is on a period of approved leave of three months or longer, that employment does not prevent the position otherwise being considered to be vacant under clause 34.7 of the Enterprise Agreement. A position cannot be considered vacant under clause 34.7 if an employee has been temporarily progressed to that position

Re-allocation of ESA by Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries

  1. A Member, who is appointed as, or ceases to be, a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary, will have six weeks from their appointment, or cessation, to notify the Department in writing of an ESA re-allocation. If the six-week timeframe is met, the re allocation will be effective from the date that the Department receives the notification. That is, the level of ESA will be paid with prospective effect.
  2. If a Member who is appointed as, or ceases to be, a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary does not meet the above timeframe, the re allocation of ESA will not be made.
  3. Being appointed as, or ceasing to be, a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary does not include a change in portfolio, a Parliamentary Secretary being appointed as a Minister or vice versa.