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Detail of the proposed Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Enterprise Agreement 2020-23

Length of agreement

The proposed Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Enterprise Agreement 2020-23 (proposed EA) would be 3 years in length.

Consultation arrangement

The proposed EA includes the model consultation clause for major workplace changes as set out in the Fair Work Regulations 2009.

For general consultation matters, the proposed EA provides for an Employee Consultative Group (ECG). The detail of how the ECG is structured and will function will be set out in separate terms of reference for the ECG. The ECG will continue to be consulted on workplace issues and proposed changes to guidelines under the EA, and will be available to meet as required.

Employment types

Employees can be either ongoing, non-ongoing or casual. The terms of each employment type are similar to the current EA. However in relation to casual employees:

  • the proposed EA would clarify that the employment of a casual employee is to be on an occasional, non-systematic or irregular basis.
  • in determining a casual employee’s work base, the entire period covered by their employment agreement would be considered, rather than each period of work. The work base is where the employee spends most time on duty. This would enable a casual employee to travel at Commonwealth expense, and to be paid travel allowance where they are directed to travel on official business requiring an overnight stay away from their work base.

For further information see the fact sheet on casual employment.

Probationary employment

Consistent with the current EA, ongoing employees can be on probation for 3 months with the option to extend by up to 2 months. Non-ongoing employees may be placed on probation for up to 3 months.

Working from home

Consistent with the current EA, employees would be able to work from home with the approval of the Minister.

Individual flexibility arrangements

Employees may enter into an IFA with the Minister. Currently an IFA can vary any terms of the EA. Under the proposed EA, IFAs could be made about:

  • arrangements about when work is performed
  • overtime rates
  • penalty rates
  • allowances
  • leave loading
  • remuneration
  • arrangements about where work is performed
  • work bases
  • travel arrangements
  • leave
  • prior service
  • termination of employment
  • severance benefits.

Some of these topics, such as overtime rates, are not found in the proposed EA, but the proposed IFA clause reflects the topics of the model IFA clause found in the Fair Work Regulations 2009 and additional topics relevant to the MOP(S) Act employment framework.

Remuneration adjustments

For further information see the fact sheet on remuneration offer including salary tables and the Government remuneration proposals.

The remuneration offer is as follows:

  • on and from 6 months after the commencement of the proposed EA, an adjustment in salary and allowances equal to:
    • for electorate employees and personal employees at the Secretary/Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant or Executive Assistant/Office Manager classifications—the Wage Price Index for the private sector (WPI) at the date the proposed EA commences, which will be 1.7 per cent
    • for Assistant Adviser, Adviser or Media Adviser classifications—half of the WPI at the date the proposed EA commences, which will be 0.85 per cent
    • for Senior staff—zero per cent
  • on and from one year after commencement of the proposed EA, for all employees—an adjustment in salary and allowances equal to the WPI.
  • on and from 2 years after commencement of the proposed EA, for all employees—an adjustment in salary and allowances equal to WPI.

Wage Price Index

The wage price index for the private sector is a figure produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics each quarter. The salary adjustments will be based on the WPI for the previous year ending in June. For example, if a salary adjustment is due on 1 March 2022, the salary adjustment will be equal to year-to-date WPI for June 2021.

For the first salary adjustment due 6 months after the EA commencements, the WPI is 1.7 per cent. Future WPI figures will be confirmed before each of the other salary adjustments is due.

Application

The annual remuneration adjustments will apply to:

  • salary
  • personal staff allowance
  • electorate staff allowance for electorate employees (including the additional ESA levels proposed)
  • allowance paid to drivers of former Prime Ministers no longer in the Parliament
  • corporate responsibility allowance.

The adjustments do not apply to Private Plated Vehicle Allowance, which will remain at its current rate of $25,082 over the life of the proposed EA.

Salary setting

Consistent with the current EA, the employing Member may appoint ongoing electorate or personal employees, or engage new non-ongoing electorate or personal employees, other than senior staff, at any salary point within the classification to which the appointment or engagement is made, based on the demonstrated and relevant skills and experience of the employee.

Promotion

The proposed EA would require that on promotion, an employee must receive a higher salary than the employee's existing salary.

For further information see the fact sheet on salary on promotion.

Transfers

The 3 types of transfer arrangements available to an office would be clarified under the proposed EA, with transfers between positions at the same or equivalent classification allowed:

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

Where an employee transfers to a new classification, the employee’s salary would be at the same salary point if that is available at the new classification.

Where the employee transfers to a lower classification with a lower top salary than the employee was previously receiving, the employee would be paid at the top of the range for the new classification.

These arrangements were previously in the Guidelines.

Competency assessment

The arrangements for competency assessment are consistent with the current EA.

However, the Government will amend the relevant Guideline to permit the employing Member of a 4-position CBAA electorate office to competency assess an EOB to an EOC to create a CCAA office.

For further information see the fact sheet on competency assessment.

Higher Duties Allowance

Consistent with the current EA, an employing Member will be able to put an ongoing employee on HDA for a minimum of 2 weeks where a position is vacant.

The employing Member will also be able to temporarily transfer an employee to a vacant position at the same classification, but no HDA will be paid.

Retention payment

Consistent with the current EA, eligible ongoing and non-ongoing employees will be paid a retention payment of one per cent of their salary and certain allowances. Eligible employees will be entitled to the payment at 19 June each year if the employee was employed for the previous 12 months.

The impact of the proposed salary adjustments will flow through to the amount of the retention payment, which is based on one per cent of salary and certain allowances at 19 June of each year. Where an employee is on temporary transfer to another office, the salary and higher duties allowance will only be included for calculating the retention payment if the transfer salary or the allowance, as relevant, has been paid for the entire qualifying period (i.e. the previous 12 months).

For further information see the fact sheet on retention payment.

Salary packaging

Ongoing and non-ongoing employees will continue to have access to salary packaging arrangements. Ongoing employees may salary package items that attract either no FBT or a concessional rate of FBT. Non-ongoing employees may only include superannuation contributions in a salary package.

The Government will investigate bringing superannuation salary packaging in-house.

Superannuation

Employees in the PSSap or a super fund under the superannuation guarantee arrangements continue to be guaranteed a minimum 15.4 per cent employer contribution.

Superannuation allowance

Ongoing employees, other than employees who are members of the PSSap, PSS or CSS superannuation schemes, may elect to receive a fortnightly allowance equal to the additional superannuation above the superannuation guarantee (i.e. 9.5 per cent of ordinary time earnings). The current allowance is 5.3881 per cent. An employee who elects to receive the allowance will be paid employer superannuation contributions of 9.5 per cent.

This arrangement previously required an IFA between the employee and Minister. For simplicity it has been relocated in the proposed Enterprise Agreement.

For further information see the fact sheet on superannuation allowance.

Allowances

All allowances paid on a fortnightly basis, other than Private-Plated Vehicle Allowance for eligible senior staff, will be adjusted in line with salary adjustments.

Electorate staff allowance (ESA) and personal staff allowance (PSA, previously Parliamentary Staff Allowance) continue to be available in compensation for additional hours of work (noting that PSA is paid as a flat rate for each classification and is not allocated).

Corporate responsibility allowance (CRA) will continue to be paid to Staff Assistance Officers, First Aid Officers and WHS site officers. It will be adjusted in line with the salary adjustments of electorate officers and personal employees below the classification of Assistant Adviser.

Electorate staff allowance (ESA)

For further information see the fact sheet on electorate staff allowance.

A number of changes to ESA will increase the remuneration available to electorate employees in recognition of, and as compensation for, working reasonable additional hours, and will provide greater flexibility for staff and their employing Members.

ESA will be adjusted in line with salary adjustments for electorate employees.

New ESA levels

ESA levels will be nominally doubled under the proposed EA. However, the value of each ESA level will be proportionally smaller.

When the proposed EA commences, 4, 5 and 6 position offices will be permitted to allocate up to 32, 36 and 40 ESA levels respectively (equivalent to the 16, 18 or 20 ESA levels currently).

An employee may be allocated up to 15 ESA, approximately equivalent to a notional ESA 7.5 and equal to $30,228, which is more than the PSA payable to Advisers, Media Advisers and Assistant Advisers.

From 6 months after commencement of the proposed EA, each employing Member will receive 2 additional ESA levels, resulting in 34 ESA levels for a 4 position office, 38 for a 5 position office, and 42 for a 6 position office.

From 6 months after commencement of the proposed EA, 2 additional ESA levels will be provided to employing Members who are eligible under the Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 to receive reimbursement for satellite office expenses.

This will better enable eligible regional members (currently 46 MPs) and their employees to staff any satellite office, and support the needs of their larger and more diverse constituencies generally.

The following is a list of 4, 5 and 6 position offices that are eligible for Commonwealth reimbursement of the costs of a satellite office:

4 position 5 position 6 position
Ballarat Hume Barker Durack
Bass Hunter Calare Grey
Bendigo Lyne Capricornia Kennedy
Blair Macquarie Eden Monaro Lingiari
Braddon Mayo Farrer Maranoa
Canning Monash Flynn O'Connor
Corangamite Nicholls Gippsland Parkes
Cowper Page Indi  
Dawson Pearce Leichhardt  
Forrest Wide Bay Lyons  
Franklin Wright Mallee  
Gilmore   New England  
Groom   Riverina  
Hinkler   Wannon  


Providing additional levels of ESA represents an effective increase in the remuneration available to be paid to electorate employees for working reasonable additional hours.

Changes to how ESA is allocated

ESA will be allocated to an individual employee (not the position they occupy).

It will be possible to allocate ESA to all ongoing and non-ongoing employees, whether employed against a position or the electorate support budget (ESB).

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 employing Member. The employing Member and employee may agree to reduce or cease the ESA allocated to an employee.

The revised ESA will be better able to address circumstances where 2 employees are appointed to a single position, where an employee is appointed to 2 positions or an employee is appointed to both a position and the ESB. The employing Member will be better able to allocate ESA according to the additional hours of work which individual employees are working.

ESA may be re-allocated within an office following set trigger events, which are generally unchanged from the existing trigger events.

Personal Staff Allowance

Consistent with the current EA, PSA will be available at 4 tiers and paid at a flat rate on the basis of an employee’s classification. PSA will be adjusted in accordance with the corresponding salary adjustments.

Private-plated vehicle or allowance (PPVA)

The threshold for an eligible part-time employee to be paid pro rata PPVA will return to 4 full-time days (i.e. 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. The current EA did not accurately reflect the change in ordinary hours from 37.5 hours per week to 38 hours per week.

The current rate of Private-Plated Vehicle Allowance (PPVA) will be maintained for the life of the EA.

Relocation expenses

Consistent with the current EA, ongoing employees will be entitled to the reimbursement of the reasonable expenses occurred in relocating.

Recovery of debts

Consistent with its statutory responsibilities, MaPS will still recover debts from employees owed to the Commonwealth. All debts will be recovered in accordance with the requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009, including requiring the employee’s agreement before any money is deducted from an employee’s pay.

Hours of work

The ordinary hours of work for a full-time employee remains at 38 hours per week. Employees will continue to be paid electorate staff allowance and personal staff allowance for their additional hours of work.

Time-off-in-lieu

TOIL continues to be available to eligible employees not receiving ESA or PSA. With the agreement of the employing Member, a full-time employee will accumulate TOIL once the employee works more than 38 hours in a week.

Leave

The leave entitlements are generally consistent with those under the current EA. Casual employees are not entitled to leave, other than where specified.

Employees may continue to access personal leave and paid miscellaneous leave for reasons relating to family or domestic violence through arrangements set out in the EA guidelines that have been in place since early 2013.

Annual leave

Employees will be entitled to 4 weeks’ annual leave (pro rata for part-time employees). Annual leave will accrue daily.

Personal leave

Employees will be entitled to 15 days’ personal leave (pro rata for part-time employees). Personal leave will accrue on commencement of employment and at each subsequent anniversary.

Unpaid carer’s leave

Employees, including casual employees, will be entitled to 2 days’ unpaid carer’s leave due to illness or an unexpected emergency affecting an employee’s family/household member.

Compassionate leave

Employees will be entitled to 2 days’ paid compassionate leave each time an immediate family member or household member contracts a personal illness or sustains a personal injury that seriously threatens their life.

Employees will be entitled to 3 days’ paid compassionate leave each time an immediate family member, household member or friend dies.

Community service leave

Employees will be entitled to leave to undertake community service activities, such as voluntary emergency service activities. There is no limit on the amount of leave under this entitlement.

Miscellaneous leave

Paid miscellaneous leave can be approved by the employing Member for purposes previously agreed by the Minister and set out in the Guideline. Paid miscellaneous leave for other purposes may be granted with MaPS approval.

Other leave

Leave for certain purposes may be granted, including for Defence Force service or undertaking study.

Long Service Leave

Employees, including casual employees, will be entitled to Long Service Leave (LSL) in accordance with the Commonwealth’s statutory scheme.

LSL may be taken for periods of 7 consecutive calendar days or more at full-pay and for 14 consecutive calendar days or more at half-pay. This improves the flexibility under the current EA, where LSL can only be taken for periods of 15 days or more at full-pay.

For further information see the fact sheet on long service leave.

Maternity leave

After 12 months' qualifying service with the Commonwealth, employees will be entitled to maternity leave in accordance with the Commonwealth’s statutory scheme (currently 12 weeks) and an additional 4 weeks’ paid maternity leave.

Adoption leave

Employees, other than casual employees, with 12 months' eligible service will be entitled to 16 weeks' adoption leave where they adopt a child and are the primary carer.

The Guideline will be amended to ensure legal surrogacy arrangements are also covered by adoption leave.

Supporting partner leave

Employees that are supporting partners following the birth or adoption of a child will be entitled to 3 weeks' supporting partner leave.

This is an increase from 2 weeks under the current EA. Supporting partner leave may also be taken at half-pay.

For further information see the fact sheet on supporting partner leave.

Leave without pay

Employees may take leave without pay (LWOP) with the approval of their employing Member. LWOP may affect an employee’s eligibility for certain entitlements and the anniversary date of service.

Public holidays

Consistent with the current EA, employees may absent themselves from work on a public holiday. There will also be a paid close down between Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Prior service

Consistent with current EA, under the proposed EA, prior service may be recognised for different purposes, including annual leave, severance benefits and personal leave

Travel arrangements

Travel arrangements, including travel allowance (TA), motor vehicle allowance (MVA) and excess baggage reimbursement are consistent with the current EA.

TA and MVA rates will be set by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority based on rates determined by an independent organisation from time to time.

Excess (Canberra) Travel Leave

Excess (Canberra) Travel Leave (ECTL) will be amended form the current arrangements to:

  • permit employees to claim a half day's leave for each time they travel. Currently they can claim one days’ leave for every 2 times they travel.
  • permit travel on Sunday or a public holiday for a Parliamentary sitting that commences on a Tuesday to count towards ECTL claims.
  • remove the limit on the number of days that can be claimed. Currently a maximum of 8 days can be claimed in a calendar year.
  • clarify the definition of 'Parliamentary sitting' for the purposes of ECTL. Committee hearings, other than Senate Estimates, will not qualify as a sitting for the purposes of ECTL.

For further information see the fact sheet on excess (Canberra) travel leave.

Travel allowance (TA)

The proposed EA would allow the Minister to vary the 120 night limit on personal employees and electorate employees who are not subject to the electorate support budget (ESB) claiming TA for overnight stays in Canberra or the location of a Commonwealth-funded office of their employing Member where the employee’s work base is at a third location.

This change would allow 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, and replace the requirement for an individual flexibility arrangement (IFA).

Learning and development

Access to learning and development opportunities remain the same as under the current EA.

  • Employees can still access up to 5 hours per week study leave and up to $10,000 reimbursement for study costs (pro rata for part-time employees).
  • The Professional Development Program will continue to be provided.
  • Ad hoc training opportunities continue to be available.

Work Health and Safety

Employees will continue to have access to assessments of work practices and equipment and may be provided with recommended equipment.

The Employee Assistance Program will continue to provide employees with access to free professional counselling and other services.

Severance benefits

Consistent with the current EA, ongoing employees will be entitled to severance benefits (subject to some exceptions). The calculation of severance benefits will remain the same and additional severance benefits will be paid to employees whose employment is automatically terminated under the MOP(S) Act.

Employees will still be required to repay a portion of the severance benefits if they are re-employed after a break in service within the severance pay period, subject to the new arrangements below.

If an employee makes an irrevocable written election to waive their right to have their earlier service recognised for severance and/or annual leave purposes, they will be entitled to keep all of their severance benefits. They will not be required to repay them. This will help encourage experienced employees to return to MOP(S) Act employment.

For further information see the fact sheet on severance benefits.

Career transition payment

The requirement for an employee to obtain the Department’s approval before incurring career transition expenses following the termination of their employment has been removed.

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.

Dispute resolution

Dispute resolution arrangements are unchanged from the current EA. The clause is based on the model clause in the Fair Work Regulations 2009

Last updated: 15 December 2020