Salary, employment types and positions

Last updated
28 June 2021

The Enterprise Agreement (see related resources) provides for three types of employment:

  • ongoing
  • non-ongoing (no more than 12 months)
  • casual (no more than 4 weeks).

Further information can be found in the ongoing, non-ongoing and casual employment guideline and the employment conditions overview (see related resources). 

Employees can be employed against a position, against the electorate support budget (ESB) as relief staff, or a combination of both. See the relief staff section for more information.

Salary classification and rates are outlined in the Enterprise Agreement and classification structures documents.

Employment type

Ongoing employment

An ongoing employee must be employed wholly or partly against an established position. An ongoing employee cannot be wholly paid against the employing parliamentarian’s ESB.

Non-ongoing employment

Non-ongoing employment is for a fixed period up to a maximum of 12 months. The fixed period may end on a specified date, at the completion of a task or particular event. Each period of engagement of a non-ongoing employee is separate.

A non-ongoing employee can be employed against an established position or the ESB, or a combination of both.

Casual employment

Casual employees may be engaged against an established position and/or the electorate support budget (ESB) to work from time to time as required by the employing parliamentarian. The maximum period for an employment agreement casual employees is four weeks.

Casual employment is generally used where the employment is occasional or irregular and there is no expectation or guarantee of continuing employment. Casual employment should not be used when the employment is of a regular, systematic nature.

Casual employees are paid for every hour worked and receive a 20 per cent loading on their hourly salary rate in lieu of other entitlements, such as annual leave. A casual employee can be engaged against an established position or the ESB, or a combination of both.

Electorate Officer positions 

Each parliamentarian is allocated at least four Electorate Officer positions, to help the parliamentarian carry out their parliamentary and electorate responsibilities, but not responsibilities relating to party business.

There are three levels of Electorate Officer: 

  • Electorate Officer A (EOA)
  • Electorate Officer B (EOB)
  • Electorate Officer C (EOC) - the highest level. 

Office structure and restructures

When employing Electorate Officers, a parliamentarian has to choose either of the two following combinations (a parliamentarian can substitute a position at a lower classification for any EOB or EOC position): 

2 x EOA positions 
1 x EOB position 
1 x EOC position 

OR 

1 x EOA position 
3 x EOB positions 

Where a parliamentarian has an operational requirement to restructure their office, they should contact MaPS Help Desk to discuss.

Members with second and third electorate offices provided at the Commonwealth expense are respectively provided with five and six full-time Electorate Officer positions. These positions are at the EOB classification. 

Electorate employees are employed under Part III or Part IV of the MOP(S) Act depending on the role of their employing parliamentarian.

The employing parliamentarian must enter new employment agreements with all of their electorate employees in the following situations:

  • on appointment as a Minister or Assistant Minister
  • on becoming an Opposition Office Holder (i.e. Leader or Deputy Leader of the Opposition or Leader or Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate)
  • on becoming the Leader or Deputy Leader of a Minority Party.

New Shadow Ministers and Whips do not need to enter new employment agreements with their electorate employees.

Personal employee positions

Parliamentarians may be provided with personal employee positions, as determined by the Prime Minister. These positions are in addition to the allocation of Electorate Officer positions.

A parliamentarian may only employ a person according to arrangements approved by the Prime Minister and subject to such conditions determined by the Prime Minister. 

All personal employees are employed under Part III of the MOP(S) Act.

Ministers and Assistant Ministers 

The Prime Minister determines the number and level of personal employee positions allocated to each Minister or Assistant Minister.

Ministerial staff are subject to a range of additional employment requirements, such as a negative vetting level 2 (NV2) security clearance, compliance with the statement of standards for Ministerial staff and statement of private interests.

Opposition 

The Prime Minister determines the allocation of personal employee positions to the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition may allocate these positions to other Opposition Office Holders and Shadow Ministers. 

Minority Party 

The Prime Minister determines the allocation of personal employee positions to the Leader of a Minority Party. The Leader of a Minority Party may, at their discretion, allocate these positions to other members of the minority party. 

Whips 

Whips are empowered to employ personal employees through a determination made by the Minister for Finance under section 12 of the MOP(S) Act.

The Prime Minister allocates personal employee positions to Whips in the House of Representatives and the Senate. 

Relief staff

Relief electorate employees 

Each parliamentarian is provided with an electorate support budget (ESB) for the travel of electorate employees and the employment of relief electorate employees. Parliamentarians are advised of their ESB at the beginning of each financial year.  

Relief electorate employees can be employed to assist during peak workloads and to fill short-term vacancies (for example, to cover periods of annual leave). The ability to engage employees using the ESB is limited by the availability of funds in the ESB and the completion of appropriate employment documentation. No additional office facilities are provided for employees engaged under the ESB. 

MaPS does not debit from the ESB the costs of relief electorate employees who are employed against an established position such as: 

  • filling positions that are vacant due to an employee resigning, retiring or  having their employment terminated
  • filling positions that are temporarily vacant due to an employee acting in a personal employee position
  • an employee is absent on one week or more of personal leave  
  • an employee is absent on most other types of leave, other than annual leave. 

Where an employee paid from the ESB takes leave, the cost of that leave and of any person employed as a ‘replacement’ is also a debit from the electorate support budget. 

Relief personal employees 

A person may be employed on a non-ongoing or casual basis if a personal employee is on:

  • approved leave
  • temporarily progressed (i.e. receiving Higher Duties Allowance)
  • temporary transfer for a period of 12 weeks or more.

When a personal employee is on leave for a shorter period, the Minister or Assistant Minister’s portfolio department is responsible for providing any relief required.  

A vacancy of two weeks or more may be filled by the temporary progression of an employee within the parliamentarian’s office. An employee from another parliamentarian’s office could also be transferred temporarily to fill the position.

Personal classifications

A personal classification permits a personal employee to be employed at a classification above the position they are currently employed against. For example, an individual might be employed as a Senior Adviser 1 in an Adviser position. The person would be paid a Senior Adviser 1 salary and have access to private-plated vehicle allowance.

Personal classifications are subject to demonstrating professional skillset and responsibilities required for the position, and needs approval from the Prime Minister.

A parliamentarian seeking a personal classification for an employee should write to the Minister for Finance in the first instance. If you are an Opposition Office Holder, Shadow Minister or member of a minority party, this will need to come through the Leader of the Opposition.

Personal classifications are attached to an individual and positions revert to their substantive classification when the individual transfers positions or leaves employment.

Departmental Liaison Officers

A Minister or Assistant Minister may, by arrangement with their departmental Secretary, appoint a Departmental Liaison Officer (DLO). The usual classification for a DLO is between Australian Public Service Level 5 and Executive Level 2. The number of DLOs in an office is set by the Prime Minister. All costs of these employees are covered by the portfolio department.

Salary classification

MOP(S) Act employees may be appointed at any salary point within their classification when they commence employment. Salary classification and rates are outlined in the Enterprise Agreement and classification structures guidance (see related resources).

Ongoing employees

The employing parliamentarian may appoint ongoing employees at any salary point within the classification to which the appointment is made (and as approved by the Prime Minister for Government senior staff employees) based on the demonstrated and relevant skills and experience of the employee.

Other than for senior staff, if the employee is transferring to an equivalent or lower classification, the new salary cannot be less than the current salary point that the employee transferred from if the salary point is within the range of the equivalent or lower classification.

Non-ongoing employees

The employing parliamentarian may appoint new non-ongoing employees at any salary point within the classification to which the appointment is made (and as approved by the Prime Minister for Government senior staff employees) based on the demonstrated and relevant skills and experience of the employee.

Casual employees

Engagement of a casual employee can be at any salary point within a classification to which the engagement is made (and as approved by the Prime Minister for Government senior staff).

Part-time employees

Part-time employees receive salary, allowances and certain other entitlements on a pro rata basis for the number of hours they work when compared to full-time weekly hours.

Hours of duty

A full-time MOP(S) Act employee works 38 hours per week (7 hours and 36 minutes per day). These hours are usually worked between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Employees may agree with their employing parliamentarian for some of their ordinary hours to be worked outside the hours of 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Additional hours of work, over and above 38 hours per week, are recognised through the payment of electorate staff allowance, parliamentary staff allowance or, where allowances are not paid, time off in lieu.

Hours of duty for part-time employees

A part-time employee is an employee who works less than 38 hours per week.

Part-time hours are agreed between the MOP(S) Act employee and employing parliamentarian, and should be specified in the employment agreement.

Where more than one employee is employed against a full-time position, the total ordinary hours worked against the position must not exceed 38 hours per week.

Further information can be found in the part-time work guideline (see related resources).