Ceasing employment

Last updated
02 September 2021

Ceasing employment under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (MOP(S) Act) can occur in the following ways:

  • employee resignation
  • termination by the employing parliamentarian
  • termination by operation of the MOP(S) Act (also known as ‘automatic’ termination).

For queries related to ceasing employment including advice on terminations contact the MaPS Help Desk. You can also access the Employee Assistance Program.

Resignation

A MOP(S) Act employee can resign from their employment at any time by giving notice in writing to their employing parliamentarian.

A copy of the letter of resignation and the completed termination of employment form (see related resources) must be forwarded to MaPS Help Desk as soon as possible. This will help MaPS finalise employment matters, such as the payment of final monies.

Termination by the employing parliamentarian

An employing parliamentarian (or authorised person) may terminate an employee’s employment in accordance with the MOP(S) Act and other legislative obligations by giving notice in writing.

Termination must meet the requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009, including ensuring the termination is not unfair or unlawful.

Before terminating an employee’s employment, the parliamentarian should seek early assistance from MaPS by contacting the MaPS Help Desk.

Termination can include the following reasons:

  • office is restructured, calling for different sets of skills
  • unsatisfactory performance or conduct by the employee
  • parliamentarian has lost trust or confidence in the employee
  • employee has a significant conflict of interest.

Where an employer is considering terminating an employee for unsatisfactory performance, the following process should be undertaken:

  • Make the employee aware of any performance issues and then provide a reasonable opportunity for the employee to improve.
  • If performance does not improve, issue a notice of intention to the employee setting out the proposed reasons for termination and provide an opportunity for the employee to outline reasons why they should not be terminated.
  • Consider the submissions before making a decision regarding termination.

Where an employer proposes to terminate an employee who is on probation, the parliamentarian must still follow a reasonable and fair process.

A copy of the written termination notice and the completed termination of employment form (see related resources) must be forwarded to MaPS as soon as possible. This will help MaPS finalise employment matters, such as the payment of accrued leave entitlements and severance benefits.

Notice period

An employing parliamentarian must provide the required notice period when terminating the employment of an employee, except where it is serious misconduct. MaPS will make a payment in lieu of notice where the applicable period is not given.

Length of continuous service employed by the Commonwealth*

Notice period

Not more than 1 year

1 week

More than 1 year but not more than 3 years

2 weeks

More than 3 years but not more than 5 years

3 weeks

More than 5 years

4 weeks

*Includes, for example, continuous service under the MOP(S) Act with other Members.

An employee over 45 years of age who has completed two years’ continuous service at the time of termination is entitled to one additional week’s notice of termination.

Where an employee’s employment is terminated within the probation period, the employee will be entitled to one week’s notice of termination or payment in lieu of notice.

Notice requirements are in clause 63 of the Enterprise Agreement (see related resources).

Termination by operation of the MOP(S) Act

An employee’s employment can be automatically terminated by the operation of the MOP(S) Act. This can be due to a number of events and circumstances of an employing parliamentarian. Section 16 and 23 of the MOP(S) Act deals with termination of employment in certain circumstances, such as employer ceases to be Senator or member or hold office.

MaPS will contact affected employees when a termination event occurs. Employees are required to complete and submit notification of employment status form (see related resources) to the MaPS Help Desk following an automatic termination.

Deferral of termination of employment

Usually when employment is automatically terminated, the MOP(S) Act direction to defer the termination of employment (see related resources) defers the termination for a period of time.

An employee who is in a deferral of termination period may use this time to settle affairs in the office and seek other employment. During a deferral of termination period, an employee may only travel between the electorate office or other office provided at Commonwealth expense, and Canberra.

Termination entitlements

MOP(S) Act employees can use the final entitlements calculator to estimate their final entitlements.

Severance benefits

Ongoing employees receive severance benefits under clause 64 of the Enterprise Agreement (excluding circumstances are also set out in clause 64 of the Enterprise Agreement).

Employees receive additional severance benefits of 30 per cent if:

  • employing parliamentarian ceases to be a Senator or Member, or hold office AND
  • the benefits are not treated as a ‘genuine redundancy payment’ (subdivision 83-C of the Income Tax Assessment Act (Cth) 1997).

A severance benefit is paid if an employee’s employment is automatically terminated under the MOP(S) Act and is not a genuine redundancy payment.

An employee who receives a severance benefit and is re-employed during the period covered by their severance payment, can either repay the overlapping portion or make an irrevocable written election to waive the right to have their prior service recognised for future severance and/or leave purposes.  

Payment of long service leave

MOP(S) Act employees with one to 10 years’ service whose employment is terminated may be entitled to pro rata long service leave or payment in lieu of the pro rata long service leave. This would only occur:

  • if the termination is for reasons other than poor performance or misconduct
  • where the termination has not been initiated, or agreed to, by the employee concerned.

Pro rata long service leave or payment in lieu is also paid to employees with at least 12 months service who have reached 55 years of age.

Unused long service leave credits are paid to employees on the termination of their employment.

Career transition payment

Former MOP(S) Act employees that receive severance benefits under the Enterprise Agreement (see related resources) may obtain a payment of up to $500 for career transition counselling, training or financial advice. To be eligible, the counselling/training or financial advice must have the prior approval of MaPS and occur within six months of termination.

MaPS can directly pay the service provider or reimburse the former employee.

Declaration of secrecy

MOP(S) Act employees employed by Ministers and Assistant Ministers must complete the declaration of secrecy form (see related resources) before ceasing employment. This form should be emailed together with the termination of employment form (see related resources) to MOPSPayandConditions@finance.gov.au on cessation.

Exit interviews

MOP(S) Act employees can volunteer to participate in exit interviews to share their thoughts and experiences of their MOP(S) Act employment. It’s an opportunity to discuss:

  • job satisfaction
  • motivation
  • induction, training and professional development opportunities
  • leadership and management
  • office infrastructure
  • reward and recognition
  • experiences accessing support services
  • reasons for leaving MOP(S) Act employment.

If you wish to complete an exit interview, contact the MaPS Help Desk.

While an exit interview is voluntary, all departing MOP(S) Act employees are encouraged to participate and provide feedback. Your participation improves the delivery of services by MaPS and employment experiences of current and future MOP(S) Act employees.

You can elect to have your feedback provided to your employing parliamentarian. In all cases, information provided through the exit interview is collected, stored and treated in the strictest confidence. Unless an employee elects to have their feedback provided to their employing parliamentarian, only MaPS will have access to individual interview results.