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MOPS Enterprise Agreement 2020-23 – Government proposals

Proposal

Comments

Individual flexibility

The Government proposes to change the clause to require 28 days’ notice to the other party that an individual flexibility agreement (IFA) is terminated.

 

The current EA permits the Minister or employee to terminate an IFA by giving no more than 28 days’ notice to the other party. This means an IFA can be terminated by giving zero days’ notice, which could be detrimental to the other party. An IFA may also be terminated at any time by agreement of the employee and the Minister.

The proposed approach is consistent with the requirements for an IFA clause under section 203 of the Fair Work Act 2009 and ensures parties have reasonable notice that an IFA is to terminate.

A transitional arrangement will enable an existing IFA to continue to operate to the extent that it applies to the terms of the new EA or to terminate if the terms of the IFA are included in the new EA, e.g. IFAs that provide a superannuation allowance.

Retention payment

The Government proposes that a temporary transfer salary only be included when calculating the retention payment if the transfer salary has been paid for the entire qualifying period (i.e. the previous 12 months).

 

The retention payment is based on one per cent of salary and certain allowances at 19 June of each year. Higher duties allowance is only included in the calculation of the retention payment if it is paid for the entire qualifying period (i.e. the previous 12 months).

The proposal addresses an anomaly that the salary of an employee on a temporary transfer on 19 June is counted regardless of the duration of the transfer.

Superannuation allowance

The Government proposes to include a clause to enable an employee to elect to receive a superannuation allowance, instead of requiring an IFA.

 

Since July 2017, employees have been able to enter into an IFA with the Minister to reduce the amount superannuation contributed by the Commonwealth from 15.4 per cent of ordinary time earnings (OTE) to the amount required under the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1993 (currently 9.5 per cent) in return for a superannuation allowance. This arrangement would now be reflected directly in the EA to provide better visibility of the superannuation allowance and simpler administration than an IFA.

Private-plated vehicle or allowance (PPVA)

The Government proposes to amend the threshold for a private-plated vehicle and for pro rata private-plated vehicle allowance for part-time employees from 30 hours per week to 30:24 hours per week (i.e. four full-time days).

 

This would address a drafting oversight in the current EA when weekly hours increased from 37:30 to 38 hours.

The threshold for an eligible part-time employee to be paid pro rata PPVA will return to 30:24 hours per week. When working 30:24 hours per week or more the employee may choose to receive a private-plated vehicle or be paid the full rate of PPVA.

Electorate staff allowance (ESA)

The Government proposes to have ESA be allocated to an employee, not a position.

Proposal

  • ESA would be allocated to individual employees, not to the position they occupy.
  • ESA may be re-allocated within an office following set trigger events, which are generally unchanged from the existing trigger events.
  • ESA would be able to be allocated to all ongoing and non-ongoing employees, whether employed against a position or the electorate support budget (ESB).
  • Four, five and six-position offices would be permitted to allocate up to 32, 36 and 40 ESA levels respectively (rather than the 16, 18 or 20 currently). The value of each ESA level would be proportionally smaller.
  • An employee may be allocated up to ESA 14, approximately equivalent to the current ESA 7.
  • ESA would not be pro rata for part-time employees, meaning that the allocated amount of ESA will remain in place as work hours change unless changed by the employer.
  • The employer and employee may agree to reduce or cease the ESA allocated to an employee.

 

  • This change would better align ESA with the understanding of employing parliamentarians and their staff, who consider an ESA allocation belongs to an employee, not a position.
  • The revised ESA will be better able to address circumstances where two employees are against a single position, where an employee is against two positions or an employee is against both a position and the ESB.
  • The increased number of available levels and ability to provide ESA to an employee employed wholly against the ESB would provide greater flexibility for offices.
  • A description of how ESA allocation to employees will work in various scenarios is at the following link:
  • ESA allocation to employee – scenarios

Travelling allowance

The Government proposes to enable the Minister to vary the 120 limit on claiming travelling allowance (TA) for overnight stays in Canberra or at the location of another Commonwealth-funded office where relevant employees have a different work base (e.g. they work from home).

 

This change would provide flexibility to the Minister to ensure that employees that may be required to work from one location for a significant period of the financial year continue to be entitled to TA.

Career transition payment

The Government proposes to remove the requirement for an employee to seek the Department’s approval before incurring career transition expenses following the termination of their employment.

 

This change would provide simpler access to the career transition payment and is consistent with the previous removal of prior approval requirements for studies assistance and ad hoc training.

Transfers – temporary and permanent

The Government proposes to clarify the three types of transfer arrangements available to an office and allow transfers between positions at the same or equivalent classification:

  • permanent transfer: the permanent movement of an ongoing employee (other than a promotion, i.e. to a higher classification)
  • temporary transfer – external: to another office
  • temporary transfer – internal: within an office to a vacant position at a higher classification, or the same or equivalent classification (this would be an extended version of current temporary progression that is only available to a higher classification (and Higher Duties Allowance is paid).

 

This will provide an office with more flexibility to arrange staffing to adapt to changing circumstances as a more complete and consistent extension of current arrangements.

National Employment Standards (NES) precedence

The Government proposes to insert a new clause specifying that the EA must be read in conjunction with the NES and that where the NES provides a greater benefit than the EA, the NES applies to the extent of any inconsistency.

 

 

This change is consistent with the FWC’s better practice for drafting enterprise agreements. The clause is informative in practice as the NES, being part of the FW Act, is a higher authority than an enterprise agreement.

This will not alter the existing administration of terms and conditions.

 

Last updated: 05 December 2019