If you are studying you may be eligible for studies assistance, such as financial assistance and/or study leave to help you complete your studies.
Studies assistance is available to eligible MOP(S) Act employees as outlined in the Enterprise Agreement and studies assistance guideline (see related resources).
Studies assistance does not apply to training provided as part of the Professional Development Program or one off ad hoc training courses.
The tertiary course must be relevant to your role and duties and supported by your employing parliamentarian. The final decision to approve or not approve studies assistance rests with the PWSS. You will not be able to access study leave or financial assistance until the application for studies assistance is approved. If the PWSS does not approve an application, the reason for this decision will be provided in writing.
You may wish to speak to the PWSS (email@example.com) before making any decisions regarding enrolment.
Eligibility for studies assistance
Ongoing or non-ongoing MOP(S) Act employees can apply for studies assistance as outlined in the studies assistance guideline (see related resources). You must be employed by a parliamentarian for the duration of the study period you apply for and have their support to apply. Casual employees and volunteers cannot apply for studies assistance.
Courses covered by studies assistance
Courses available under the Australian Qualifications Framework are covered by studies which includes:
- Certificate III
- Bachelor degree
- Graduate diploma
- Masters degree.
This can be from any Australian educational institution including nationally accredited training authorities and registered training providers.
As a part of studies assistance, you may also be approved to take study leave. Paid study leave is provided up to a maximum of 5 hours per week. Part-time employees will not be granted for these hours if it is in excess of their actual hours worked. Any approved study leave may be pooled and accessed over the period of study. Unused study leave cannot be carried over to another period of study.
For example if your period of study is for 13 weeks and you are approved for 5 hours per week, the total amount of leave pooled is 65 hours. You can use the 65 hours how you see fit within the 13 weeks. We recommend you track the amount of leave you take each time.
Study leave agreed by your employer is to be recorded in PEMS. Apply for study hours in PEMS prior to taking the leave. This is the responsibility of you and your direct manager to maintain the compliance of study leave hours and to not exceed what is approved in application.
Note: Open PEMS>Leave Requests>Leave nature: Miscellaneous Leave With Pay>Leave type: LWP-Other>Complete as required with dates>sent to approver.
Study leave is:
- calculated from the first official day of your period of study to the last day of the period (i.e. the last day of formal assessment for this period)
- not accrued during any official study breaks (i.e. mid-semester breaks)
- does not accrue if you take leave without pay during the study period.
The total amount of study leave you take cannot exceed your usual work hours for the current period of study. For example if you work 30 hours over the current period of study, that is the maximum amount of study leave you can take for the period.
The maximum amount that can be claimed each financial year is up to $10,000 for full-time employees. For part-time employees, the amount of fees you are claiming for reimbursement will be pro-rata. This is based on your average hours worked during each study period.
Financial assistance example: for the period 1 July to 30 June, Sue has worked an average of 30.4 hours per week. The formula to work out financial assistance is average weekly hours worked x $10,000 / 38. The maximum amount of financial assistance available to Sue is $8000 (30.4 x $10,000 / 38).
Course fees example: Sue needs to claim reimbursement for two subjects at $3000 each, totalling $6000. The formula to work this out is average weekly hours worked x amount claimed / 38. The amount Sue can claim is $4800 (30.4 x $6000 / 38).
As a preferred method, seek approval before you enrol or pay any course fees. Reimbursement will not be made for courses not approved.
Applying for studies assistance
You can apply here: Studies assistance and study leave application (see related resources).
Ensure you seek approval of your application for studies assistance and study leave via the provided approval email template from your parliamentarian or authorised person within the office and attach this to your application.
Make sure you supply and attach all supporting documentation with your application.
You will need to apply for studies assistance and study leave for each enrolled study period.
Claiming reimbursement for course fees
All claims for the reimbursement of study costs must be submitted within 12 months of the successful subject/unit completion or before the employee’s cessation date, whichever comes first.
To claim reimbursement, you must provide with your online application, the following documentation:
- certified true copy of your results – reimbursements will not be made for failed grades. The courses must match what you applied for on your application
- itemised copy of the invoice of your subjects – clearly state the subject name and how much each subject costs
- copy of your HELP statement (if you have deferred your studies to HELP). The statement must reflect the amounts on your invoice
- copy of your receipt (if you have paid for your course out of pocket). The receipt must reflect the amounts on your invoice; and
- approval email from parliamentarian and/or authorised person.
The following are some items that cannot be claimed for reimbursement:
- sports and student union fees
- general and administration fees
- fees for components of a course not successfully completed
- travel and accommodation expenses
- books, journals, newspapers, stationary and other materials
- costs of producing material for the course being undertaken
- graduation ceremony and regalia hire costs.
If you have transferred into a new office, you will need to seek approval from your new employing parliamentarian to continue to receive studies assistance. A new application for studies assistance and study leave must be submitted.
If you ceased working under the MOP(S) Act before you completed your period of study, you cannot claim reimbursement for your fees.
If you ceased employment after you finished your period of study, you can claim reimbursement of your fees.
Approving an employee’s studies assistance application
If you have been asked to support an employee's studies assistance application, consider the following while looking over the application:
- employee’s past and current performance
- has the employee studied previously and to what level
- study is directly related to their duties, or will provide additional benefits to the office
- career and professional development needs and goals of the employee
- strategic and operational needs of the office, including the skills required by the employee for current or likely future duties.
If you have any questions relating to the application, contact the Education team before giving approval.