MOP(S) Act employees are employed to assist the parliamentarian to carry out duties as a Member of Parliament and not for party political purposes. Accordingly, employees may undertake activities in support of their employing Senator or Member’s re-election but not in support of the election or re-election of others at the Federal election.
Employees cannot be directed to attend party meetings and any such attendance does not count as hours of work.
Electorate office arrangements
My employer is retiring at the Federal election. What arrangements are made for the electorate office?
MaPS will be in contact with electorate office employees to discuss preparation for handing the office over to the new Member.
Your employer will cease to be the Member for your electorate on the day of dissolution of the House of Representatives. At this time, any authorisations to exercise the Member’s employment powers also cease
Electorate employees continue in employment until the declaration of the poll (unless an employee’s casual/non-ongoing employment ceases before the poll is declared). No new employment arrangements can be entered into and existing employment arrangements cannot be varied. During this time, electorate employees may continue to provide service to constituents, albeit in a limited way, and assist in the closure of the office. To support this role, employees have limited access to facilities such as postage and existing stationery stocks.
My employer is retiring at the Federal election. How does the electorate office transfer to the new Member?
Prior to the declaration of the poll, the relevant MaPS state or territory office will arrange a time with electorate office employees for the handover of the electorate office.
At the handover, MaPS collects all items such as keys and security passes, remote access tokens, and other ICT-related equipment (e.g. external hard drives). All Commonwealth-purchased equipment and supplies (including office requisites and stationery items) are to remain in the office. Any equipment or assets that may have been removed from the office, such as cameras or video projectors are to be returned to the office for a final stocktake. If any Finance equipment is not accounted for, MaPS may raise an invoice against the former Member for the cost of the equipment.
Your assistance in ensuring that the office is clean and cleared of all unwanted files and other items is appreciated.
The handover may occur several days before the declaration of the poll. From the date of the handover, employees are not required to attend the office for normal duty, but may use this period to seek alternative employment.
How does a Federal election affect my employment under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (MOP(S) Act)?
Employees should be aware that the information below is general and may not apply in all circumstances.
Whether your employment will be affected by the Federal election will depend on the status of your employing parliamentarian and the outcome of the Federal election. While you remain a MOP(S) Act employee, the terms and conditions of your employment continue as they would at any other time. Generally, any new employment agreement is only valid where the agreement is made and work under the agreement commences prior to the employing parliamentarian ceasing as a parliamentarian.
MOP(S) Act employment would generally cease in the following circumstances:
Electorate and personal employees of a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary
Regardless of the outcome of the Federal election, the swearing-in of the new Ministry after the election will trigger an automatic termination of employment for all personal and electorate employees of a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary. Employees will continue to be employed as per below:
Personal employees of Presiding Officers, Opposition Office Holders, Leaders and Deputy Leaders of recognised political parties, Shadow Ministers and Whips
Depending on the circumstances, the employment of these personal employees may cease. For example, if the House of Representatives elects a new Speaker following the election, the employment of the personal employees of the former Speaker would cease. Similarly, if an Opposition Office Holder, Leader or Deputy Leader of a recognised political party, Shadow Minister or Whip no longer holds their position following the election, the employment of their personal employees would cease.
The timing of the cessation of employment under the MOP(S) Act is dependent on a number of factors, such as the office held by the employing parliamentarian and whether they are seeking re-election or retiring.
Information in relation to the timing of the cessation of employment for these office holders may be provided by the MaPS Help Desk. MaPS will write to each affected employee following the election to provide information in relation to their employment.
Electorate employees of Presiding Officers, Opposition Office Holders, Leaders and Deputy Leaders of recognised political parties, Shadow Ministers and Whips
For Presiding Officers, Shadow Ministers and Whips, if the employing parliamentarian is re-elected, the employment of electorate employees continues.
For Opposition Office Holders, Leaders and Deputy Leaders of recognised political parties, depending on the circumstances, the employment of these electorate employees may cease. The timing of the cessation of employment under the MOP(S) Act is dependent on a number of factors, such as the office held by the employing parliamentarian and whether they are seeking re-election or retiring. Where the employing parliamentarian is not seeking re-election or is retiring, the relevant information below will generally apply.
Electorate employees of retiring members or territory senators
Electorate employees of retiring members or territory senators continue to be employed as per the arrangements below:
|Ongoing employees||Until the declaration of the poll.|
Employment will cease at the earlier of:
Employment will cease at the earlier of:
Between the dissolution of the House of Representatives and the declaration of the poll, there are some restrictions in place in relation to activities employees can undertake. MaPS will write to employees in this situation.
Electorate employees of members or territory senators not re-elected
Electorate employees of members or territory senators who are not re-elected continue to be employed as per the arrangements below:
|Ongoing employees||Until the declaration of the poll.|
Employment will cease at the earlier of:
Employment will cease at the earlier of:
Electorate employees of retiring state senators or state senators not re-elected - half-Senate election
In the event of a half-Senate election, electorate employees of retiring state senators or state senators who are not re-elected continue to be employed by the senator until the expiry of their Senate term - 30 June following the Federal election. This information will differ for the employees of state senators in the case of a double-dissolution.
|Ongoing employees||Until 30 June following the Federal election.|
|Non-ongoing employees||Employment will cease at the earlier of:
|Casual employees||Employment will cease at the end of the existing casual employment engagement.|
Electorate employees of state senators whose term is not expiring - half-Senate election
A half-Senate election has no impact on the employment of electorate employees of state Senators whose term continues beyond 30 June the following year. This information will differ for the staff of state senators in the case of a double-dissolution. See senators not re-elected - double dissolution.
I am an authorised officer for a member or territory senator who is retiring at the Federal election. Can I continue to approve employment forms and travel for other staff in the office?
No. When a parliamentarian no longer has employment powers, any authorisation of another person to exercise those powers on his or her behalf also ceases.
I am employed as a non-ongoing/casual employee in the office of a member who is retiring at the Federal election and my contract will expire before declaration of the poll. Can my employment be extended?
Yes, if the employment agreement is signed and commences, i.e. work under the agreement is performed, prior to the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
Where a casual employment agreement commences prior to the dissolution of the House of Representatives but has periods of work after the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the employment agreement will cease at the earlier of:
- the end of a working day prior to a business day on which the employee does not work, or
- at the end of their current employment engagement, or
- the declaration of the poll.
Any employment documentation that has been signed by the retiring Member and is due to commence after the dissolution of the House of Representatives is unable to be paid by MaPS.
Can I undertake campaign/election/re-election duties for my parliamentarian?
Yes. By convention, personal and electorate employees may undertake activities in support of their employing parliamentarian re-election, but not the election or re-election of others. An employee therefore cannot be directed to undertake duties in support of any other senator, member or candidate.
Can I be directed to work from the party’s campaign headquarters?
Yes. By convention, personal and electorate employees may undertake activities in support of their employing parliamentarian’s re-election but not in support of the election or re-election of others. In addition, electorate employees may not be directed to undertake party political duties as outlined in Determination 2016/15 (see related resources).
A parliamentarian should satisfy themself that their electorate employees are not undertaking party political duties and that they are able to defend the duties undertaken by all of their employees. Directing an employee to assist the party’s campaign in general may be defensible. The duties of an employee become less defensible to the extent that they are in support of the election of another person and not in support of the re-election of the employing parliamentarian.
Can I be directed to attend party meetings?
No. A parliamentarian may not direct employees to attend party meetings. Any such attendance does not count as official duty and employees will not be able to travel expenses.
How will I be provided with information about my individual circumstances?
MaPS will write to all employees following the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
Following the Federal election, MaPS will write to affected employees in relation to their employment.
Employees on leave from the Australian Public Service
I am an Australian Public Service (APS) employee on leave without pay to undertake MOP(S) Act employment. What happens if my employment is terminated as a result of the Federal election?
You will return to the APS. You should advise your Agency Head in writing of your intention to return as soon as you are notified that your employment will be terminated. You must return to the APS on or before the business day immediately after your MOP(S) Act employment ceases.
If you are an APS employee on leave without pay to undertake MOP(S) Act employment, you are not eligible for severance pay, additional severance benefits or the career transition payment under the Enterprise Agreement (see related resources). Accrued leave entitlements will be transferred to your APS agency on your return and will not be paid out.
If you are returning to your department prior to the business day immediately after your MOP(S) Act employment ceases you will need to notify MaPS as soon as possible to avoid any overpayment.
If you have resigned, or intend to resign from your APS department, the resignation must take effect before the termination date of your MOP(S) Act employment for severance benefits to be paid under the Enterprise Agreement. Severance benefits will be paid at your MOP(S) Act salary and allowance rates (as applicable).
MaPS requires a copy of your resignation from the APS before your termination payments will be paid. Please note that severance benefits are only based on the length of your continuous MOP(S) Act service and any recognised MOP(S) Act equivalent employment with a state or territory parliamentarian that was immediately prior to employment under the MOP(S) Act.
Will I be paid pro-rata long service leave if my employment is terminated as a result of the Federal election?
Eligibility for payment of pro-rata long service leave depends on factors such as the reason for the termination of employment, length of service and age. In general, an employee who has at least 12 months service and whose employment is terminated as a result of the Federal election will be entitled to a pro-rata payment.
I am an ongoing MOP(S) Act employee and my employment is ending due to my employing parliamentarian ceasing as a result of the Federal election. Will I receive severance benefits?
Yes, provided you do not fall into one of the categories specified below.
Clause 64.1 of the Enterprise Agreement (see related resources) provides that severance benefits are payable to persons whose employment is terminated under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (MOP(S) Act) other than:
- employees that resign
- employees of the APS, the public service of a state or territory, or any other public sector employer from which they are on leave
- employees guilty of serious misconduct
- non-ongoing or casual employees
- employees who have been approved for an invalidity retirement benefit from the CSS or the PSS
- employees terminated during probation
- employees who immediately prior to the cessation of their employment under the MOP(S) Act have been absent from duty without approved leave for a continuous period of 10 business days and who have failed to notify a reasonable cause for their absence to the employing Member
- employees who are re-employed under the MOP(S) Act without a break in MOP(S) Act employment (whether that employment is with the employee’s original employing Member or another Member).
I am an ongoing employee on extended leave without pay. If my employment is terminated as a result of the Federal election, will I still receive severance benefits?
Yes, provided you do not fall into one of the categories specified in the question above. You should note that your leave without pay will not count as service for the purpose of calculating your length of service for severance benefits.
I am an ongoing employee on probation. Will I receive severance benefits if my employment is terminated during my probation period as a result of the Federal election?
No. Under clause 64.1(f) of the Enterprise Agreement, severance benefits are not payable where employment is terminated during the probation period.
I am a non-ongoing/casual employee. Will I receive severance benefits if my employment is terminated as a result of the Federal election?
No. Under clause 64.1(d) of the Enterprise Agreement, non-ongoing and casual employees will not receive severance benefits.
How are severance benefits calculated? Does it take into account prior service?
Severance benefits are payable based on an ongoing employee’s length of continuous MOP(S) Act service and any recognised MOP(S) Act equivalent employment with a state or territory parliamentarian that was immediately prior to employment under the MOP(S) Act. Further details are provided at clause 52.4 of the Enterprise Agreement and in the recognition of prior service guideline (see related resources).
Prior service with an Australian government department or authority or state government department or authority will not be taken into account when calculating severance benefits.
The severance benefits payable to an employee will be the gross benefit provided by clause 64.2 of the Enterprise Agreement and set out in the following table.
Length of continuous service
|Less than 1 year||4 weeks’ pay|
|1 year or more but less than 2 years||8 weeks’ pay|
|2 years or more but less than 3 years||10 weeks’ pay|
|3 years or more but less than 4 years||12 weeks’ pay|
|4 years or more but less than 5 years||13 weeks’ pay|
|5 years or more but less than 7 years||14 weeks’ pay|
|7 years or more||2 weeks’ pay plus 2 weeks’ pay for every completed year,
up to a maximum of 48 weeks’ pay.
The termination of employment in the case of a Federal election is generally under clauses 16(2) or 23(1) of the MOP(S) Act as a result of the employing Member ceasing to hold office and therefore, under clause 65 of the Enterprise Agreement, the severance benefit is increased by 30 per cent.
What payment options do I have regarding my severance benefits?
Severance benefits are classed by the Australian Tax Office as an Employment Termination Payment (ETP). ETPs must be paid directly to the employee. ETPs cannot be rolled-over into a superannuation fund.
How much severance benefit do I have to repay if I am re-employed under the MOP(S) Act?
If you are re-employed under the MOP(S) Act as an ongoing, non-ongoing or casual employee within the severance pay period, you will be required to make a repayment.
As an example, if you received a severance benefit of 10 weeks’ pay on termination of employment and you are re-employed under the MOP(S) Act after a period of six weeks, you are required to repay four weeks of the severance benefit.
This applies even if the period of employment is for a shorter period than the remaining severance period, for example, where a person is re-employed under a non-ongoing or casual employment agreement for a period of two weeks but they have six weeks remaining in their severance pay period, they will be required to repay two weeks of the severance benefit.
The repayment of any severance benefit, or part thereof, is based on the classification, salary and allowances (if applicable) of the employee when their employment ceased, i.e. not the classification, salary and allowances of the subsequent employment.
The Enterprise Agreement also provides, in certain circumstances, for you to voluntarily repay your severance benefits, additional severance benefits and/or payment in lieu of annual leave, within 60 days of commencement of new employment under the MOP(S) Act, provided there is no more than a six-month gap between periods of employment. Depending on the types of payments repaid, the two periods of employment will be regarded as continuous for certain purposes (although the break in service will not count as service for any purpose). An amount paid in lieu of long service leave is not able to be repaid in order to re-establish a long service leave credit.
Further information regarding repayment provisions can be found in the Enterprise Agreement.
If you are intending to seek re-employment during the severance pay period, please seek advice from the MaPS Help Desk as soon as possible.
Do I get payment in lieu of notice if my employment is terminated as a result of the election?
If my employment is terminated, when will my final entitlements be paid?
As soon as possible following your cessation. This generally occurs within two weeks of cessation, although due to the high volume following a Federal election, this period may be extended. In these circumstances, it may be necessary, for example, to pay outstanding salary on one payday and other final entitlements within two weeks of that payday.
To ensure that you are paid promptly, please arrange to complete and forward any outstanding documentation (e.g. travelling allowance acquittals) as soon as possible. If you are not intending to seek re-employment, please advise the MaPS Help Desk as soon as possible using form 129: notification of employment status (see related resources), as early notification will assist with the processing of final entitlements.
Which account will my final entitlements be paid into?
Your final entitlements will be paid to the account used for your normal fortnightly pay. If you wish your final entitlements to be paid into a different account (noting that severance benefits cannot be rolled-over into a superannuation fund), please provide written advice to the MaPS Help Desk. It is also important to advise the MaPS Help Desk if you are contemplating closing your account prior to the payment of all of your final monies.
Can MaPS provide me with an estimate of my final entitlements?
You can produce an estimate of your final entitlements payout with the help of the final entitlements estimator. If you wish to use the final entitlements estimator, please ensure that you read the disclaimer and accompanying entitlement information before proceeding.
MaPS does not have the capacity to provide estimates to employees.
How do I get my leave balances for the final entitlements estimator?
Annual leave balances in hours and minutes can be found on your fortnightly pay advices or via PEMS. Alternatively, leave balances can be obtained from the MaPS Help Desk.
Long service leave balances can be obtained from the MaPS Help Desk. Please note it may take up to 10 business days for long service leave balances to be provided. This period may be extended where prior service details need to be obtained.
Will my final entitlements be paid as a lump sum?
Yes. However, your outstanding salary may be paid prior to your final entitlements if there are a high number of cessations to be processed.
When will my payment summary be issued?
Payment summaries are issued after 30 June each financial year. If you receive payments early in the new financial year then a payment summary will not be issued until after 30 June of that financial year.
To update your residential and postal address, please email the MaPS Help Desk.
How do I update my contact details?
Email the MaPS Help Desk with your home address and/or postal address, new email address and telephone number.
What is the career transition payment?
The Enterprise Agreement provides for a payment of up to $500 (GST inclusive) to an ongoing employee who has sought prior approval from MaPS for career transition counselling, training or financial advice upon the occasion of a genuine redundancy in respect of which severance benefits are payable or of a termination of employment where additional severance benefits are payable. Pro-rata payments of career transition payments will be made to ongoing part-time employees based on their ordinary hours of duty at the date of termination of their employment.
How do I access the career transition payment?
To be eligible for the career transition payment, you must have prior approval from MaPS and the counselling/training/financial advice must occur within six months of termination of employment. The costs may be paid by MaPS to the service provider or will be borne by the individual and be reimbursed by MaPS upon the production of receipts.
Please email a request for approval outlining the proposed training or advice along with any supporting information to the MaPS Help Desk and ensure approval is received prior to accessing the service.
Can I take leave during the election campaign period?
Yes, subject to your employer’s approval.
Employees of recontesting parliamentarians must have their leave approved by their employer or an authorised officer. Leave must be approved through PEMS as soon as possible. Where the requirements of the workplace do not allow for a period of leave to be approved, your employer may decline an application for annual leave.
If you are an electorate employee of a Member who retired at the dissolution of the House of Representatives, please contact the MaPS Help Desk to discuss your proposed leave as the retired Member or any employees who were authorised officers are unable to approve leave.
I am on maternity leave. If my employment is terminated as a result of the Federal election will my maternity leave be paid out?
Yes. If your employment ceases during your paid maternity leave period under the Enterprise Agreement (see related resources), you will generally be paid the remaining weeks of maternity leave as a lump sum. For example, if you have commenced 16 weeks of maternity leave at full pay and your employment is terminated due to the Federal election after six weeks, you will receive a lump sum payment of 10 weeks salary. If you have taken maternity leave at half pay, similar provisions apply. This only applies to paid maternity leave covered by the Enterprise Agreement, i.e. it does not cover payments in relation to the Australian Government’s paid parental leave scheme.
Further details of the maternity leave provisions are provided in clause 46 of the Enterprise Agreement and the leave and public holidays guideline (see related resources).
If you are an APS employee on leave without pay from the APS to take up MOP(S) Act employment, different provisions may apply.
Please contact the MaPS Help Desk if you need further information about your specific circumstances.
What happens to my salary packaging if I cease under the MOP(S) Act?
You will need to contact SmartSalary on 1300 476 278 to discuss your salary packaging arrangements. We recommend that you make contact with SmartSalary prior to the cessation of employment.
Standing as a candidate
I intend to stand as a candidate at the Federal election. What do I need to do?
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) provides advice on nominating to be a candidate. Prospective candidates should also consider reading the AEC’s Electoral Backgrounder: constitutional disqualification and intending candidates, and in particular, information on section 44(iv) of the Constitution (regarding any person holding an office for profit under the Crown). Paragraph 39 of the Electoral Backgrounder states:
The Electoral Reform Green Paper – Strengthening Australia’s Democracy (September 2009) provides at paragraph 8.55 that:
[All] Federal and State public servants and serving members of the Australian Defence Force would be disqualified from standing for election. This appears to apply even if the person is "unattached", or on leave without pay, and not currently in receipt of remuneration.
You may therefore need to resign your MOP(S) Act employment. However, if you require any additional information in relation to your qualifications under the Constitution, the AEC recommends that you seek your own legal advice. The AEC does not provide legal advice to prospective candidates.
Will my MOP(S) Act employment be reinstated automatically if I am unsuccessful as a candidate?
No. It is a matter for the individual Senator or Member to decide if he or she will re-engage a former employee who resigned in such circumstances.
If I am re-employed after resigning to stand as a candidate, how can my continuity of service be reinstated?
Clause 52.2 of the Enterprise Agreement (see related resources) provides that if you are subsequently appointed or engaged within six months of resigning to contest an election (Federal, state or territory), and you repay within 60 calendar days of the new appointment/engagement an amount equal to the amount that was paid to you in lieu of accumulated leave, the immediately preceding period of employment under the MOP(S) Act (and any previous period in relation to which continuity of employment provisions have applied) will be recognised as service for all purposes in relation to your current period of employment.
The break in service will not count as service for any purpose, but is not considered to break continuity of service.
An amount paid in lieu of long service leave is not able to be repaid in order to re-establish a long service leave credit.
If I intend to stand as a candidate at the Federal election (or a state/territory or local government election), can I campaign for my own election during normal working hours?
No. MOP(S) Act employees are unable to campaign for their own election during normal working hours, or use any office facilities towards their own election.
I have studies assistance approved but my employment will cease part-way through my period of study (e.g. semester or term). Can I make a pro rata claim for the period I was employed under the MOP(S) Act?
No. Under the Enterprise Agreement, reimbursement cannot be made where an employee leaves MOP(S) Act employment prior to the end of the relevant period of study (the last day of formal assessment for that component of the course).
Will I receive a superannuation benefit in the event that my employment is terminated as a result of the Federal election?
You may be entitled to a superannuation benefit depending on your current superannuation arrangements:
CSS and PSS members:
For further information about your benefit, please call the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) on:
|CSS members||1300 000 277|
|PSS members||1300 000 377|
|PSSap members||1300 725 171|
Please make CSC aware that you are a MOP(S) Act employee.
On cessation of employment, you will be provided with a benefit claim form. This should be completed as soon as possible and returned to MaPS to complete the 'departmental report' section of the form. MaPS will then forward the form to CSC for processing.
Please note that CSC does not consider termination from MOP(S) Act employment to be a redundancy and, as such, you will not be eligible to claim a redundancy benefit from the CSS or PSS schemes – it will be the same form of benefit as available on resignation (or, if 55 years old or over, an age retirement benefit).
Members of other funds should contact their fund to discuss your options.
Travel approvals for staff of retiring members
My employing member is retiring at the Federal election. Can I travel after the House of Representatives has been dissolved?
No. However, MaPS may approve direct travel between the electorate office and Canberra in limited and special circumstances (for example, travel for one employee to assist with the packing up of the Parliament House office or to return to their work base if an employee is travelling at the dissolution of the House of Representatives).
Approval must be sought from the MaPS Help Desk prior to undertaking such travel.
Who do I contact for travel advice during the election period?
For all other travel advice during the election period you should continue to contact the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA).
Work health and safety
What happens if there is an incident or near-miss during the election period?
All incidents and near misses should be reported to the WHS and Occupational Rehabilitation Services provider promptly.
I am considering my employment options following the Federal election. Can the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) help me with career counselling?
Yes, if you access the service while still an employee.
In addition to providing assistance for personal and work-related issues, the EAP can assist with career counselling. MOP(S) Act employees have access to this service for the duration of their employment. The EAP provider is available 24 hours per day/7 days per week. All calls are confidential.
What happens if I have an accepted workers’ compensation claim with Comcare?
If you are ceasing employment, MaPS will continue to be the rehabilitation authority for an accepted workers’ compensation claim. You should submit any outstanding claims for time off work and medical certificates promptly to enable timely processing.
MaPS will advise Comcare of cessations and Comcare will take over the payment of incapacity payments directly to you.
MaPS will continue to provide rehabilitation services to you, and will change its focus from returning to work with your current employer, to finding work with a new employer.
Forms for claim for time off work and medical services claims can be found on Comcare’s website.
What happens if I have lodged a workers’ compensation claim, but it has not yet been accepted?
For any compensation claims that are undetermined at the time of cessation, Comcare’s process will continue.
If your claim is accepted, Comcare will make the necessary arrangements to commence incapacity payments. In the event that you have taken personal or annual leave while waiting for a Comcare decision, this leave will be re-credited to you, and paid out as a lump sum by MaPS in the case of annual leave.
Forms for claim for time off work and medical services claims can be found on Comcare’s website, but should be forwarded to the MaPS Help Desk for processing.