Department of Health Enterprise Agreement 2016-2019

Part H - Redeployment, reduction and retrenchment (RRR)

Page last updated: 28 January 2016

Excess employees

Definition

  1. An employee is ‘excess’ when:
    1. they are included in a group of employees in the department, comprising a greater number than is necessary for the efficient and economical working of the department,
    2. due to technological or other changes in the work methods of the department, or structural or other changes in the nature, extent or organisation of the functions of the department, the services of the employee cannot be effectively used, or
    3. the duties usually performed by the employee are to be performed at a different locality and the employee is not willing to perform those duties at the new locality, and the Secretary has determined that the provisions of this clause may apply to that employee.

Eligible employee

  1. The provisions of this Part do not apply to non-ongoing employees, employees who are on probation or employees who are still within the minimum employment period as defined in the FW Act.

Secretary’s powers

  1. The powers of the Secretary with regard to excess employees allow the Secretary to:
    1. reassign duties to an employee within the department and determine the place at which the duties are performed,
    2. consider options for redeployment of the employee to another APS agency,
    3. reduce the classification level of an employee on the grounds that the employee is excess to the requirements of the department at the higher classification level,
    4. terminate the employment of an ongoing employee on the grounds that the employee is excess to the requirements of the department.

Timely advice

  1. When the Secretary is aware that an employee is likely to become excess, the Secretary will advise the employee at the earliest practicable time.
  2. The Secretary will hold discussions with the potentially excess employee to consider:
    1. redeployment opportunities for the employee concerned, and
    2. whether voluntary retrenchment might be appropriate.

Referral to employee - initial consultation

  1. Where an employee is identified as potentially excess, the Secretary will hold an initial consultation with the employee and/or the employee’s representative.
  2. During this initial consultation period of one month, unless the employee agrees to a lesser period, the Secretary will not:
    1. invite the employee to accept an offer of voluntary retrenchment, or
    2. advise that employee in writing that they are excess.
  3. The Secretary may, prior to the conclusion of these discussions, invite employees who are not potentially excess to express an interest in voluntary retrenchment, where those retrenchments would permit the redeployment of employees who are potentially excess. The Secretary will not advise an employee they are excess until the discussions referred to in clause 247 have occurred.

Voluntary retrenchment

  1. Where the Secretary invites an excess employee to elect to accept voluntary retrenchment, the employee will have one month to accept or reject the invitation. The Secretary will not give notice of termination under section 29 of the PS Act on the grounds that the employee is excess to requirements, before the end of that period or until such election is received (where the election is received before the end of that period).

Information to employee

  1. At the time of inviting the employee to make an election, the Secretary will provide the employee the following information:
    1. the amounts of severance pay, payment in lieu of notice, and likely payment in lieu of leave credits,
    2. the amount of accumulated superannuation contributions,
    3. the options open to the employee concerning superannuation, and
    4. the taxation rules applying to the various payments.

Financial assistance

  1. Employees considering voluntary retrenchment also have access to financial assistance up to a total maximum of $450 (inclusive of GST) for financial counselling, and a further $450 (inclusive of GST) for career counselling where such career counselling is not otherwise provided through the department's external Employee Assistance Program.

Period of notice

  1. Where an employee accepts an offer of voluntary retrenchment and the Secretary approves the employee’s termination under section 29 of the PS Act, the Secretary will give the employee a period of notice of four weeks, or five weeks for an employee over 45 years of age with at least five years of continuous service.

Payment in lieu of notice

  1. Where an employee retires or is retrenched at the beginning of, or within, the notice period, he or she will receive payment in lieu of notice for the unexpired portion of the notice period.

Severance benefit

  1. Where an employee accepts an offer of voluntary retrenchment and the Secretary terminates the employee’s employment under section 29 of the PS Act, the employee is entitled to be paid a severance benefit of a sum equal to two weeks’ salary for each completed year of service, plus a pro-rata payment for completed months of service since the last completed year of service, subject to any minimum amount the employee is entitled to under the FW Act and NES.
  2. The minimum sum payable will be four weeks’ salary and the maximum will be 48 weeks’ salary.
  3. The redundancy benefit will be calculated on a pro-rata basis for any period where an employee has worked part-time hours during the employee’s period of service and the employee has less than 24 years full-time service, subject to any minimum amount the employee is entitled to under the NES.

Earlier periods of service

  1. For earlier periods of service to count, there must be no breaks between the periods of service, except where:
    1. the break in service is less than one month and occurs where an offer of employment with the new employer was made and accepted by the employee before ceasing employment with the preceding employer, or
    2. the earlier period of service was with the APS and ceased because the employee was deemed to have resigned from the APS on marriage under the then section 49 (as repealed in 1966) of the repealed Public Service Act 1922.

Service for severance benefits purposes

  1. Having regard to clause 259, and subject to clauses 256 to 258 and clause 263, service for severance benefit purposes means:
    1. service in the department,
    2. government service as defined in section 10 of the Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976,
    3. service with the Commonwealth (other than service with a Joint Commonwealth/State body or a body corporate in which the Commonwealth does not have a controlling interest) which is recognised for long service leave purposes,
    4. service with the Australian Defence Forces,
    5. APS service immediately preceding deemed resignation under the then section 49 (as repealed in 1966) of the repealed Public Service Act 1922, if the service has not previously been recognised for redundancy pay purposes, and
    6. service in another organisation where an employee was transferred from the APS to that organisation with a transfer of function or an employee engaged by that organisation on work within a function is appointed as a result of the transfer of that function to the APS and such service is recognised for long service leave purposes.

Service not to count

  1. Having regard to clause 260, any period of service which ceased:
    1. through termination on the following grounds, or on a ground equivalent to any of the following grounds:
      1. the employee lacks, or has lost, an essential qualification for performing the employee’s duties, or
      2. non-performance, or unsatisfactory performance, of duties, or
      3. inability to perform duties because of physical or mental incapacity, or
      4. failure to satisfactorily complete an entry level training course, or
      5. failure to meet a condition imposed under subsection 22(6) of the PS Act or
      6. a breach of the Code of Conduct, or
    2. on a ground equivalent to a ground listed in subparagraph (a) above under the repealed Public Service Act 1922, or
    3. through voluntary retrenchment at or above the minimum retiring age applicable to the employee, or
    4. with the payment of a redundancy benefit or similar payment or an employer-financed retirement benefit, will not count as service for severance benefit purposes.
  2. Absences from work which do not count as service for any purpose will not count as service for severance benefit purposes.

Part-time service

  1. The severance benefit will be calculated on a pro-rata basis for any period where an employee has worked part-time hours during the employee’s period of service and the employee has less than 24 years full-time service.

Severance benefit - rate of payment

  1. For the purpose of calculating any payment under this clause, salary will include:
    1. the employee's salary, or
    2. the salary of the higher position, where the employee has performed duties at the higher level for a continuous period of at least 12 months immediately preceding the date on which the employee is given notice of retrenchment, and
    3. other allowances in the nature of salary which are paid during periods of annual leave and on a regular basis, excluding allowances which are a reimbursement for expenses incurred, or a payment for disabilities associated with the performance of duty.

Involuntary retrenchment

Retention periods

  1. Where an excess employee has not accepted an offer of voluntary retrenchment, unless he/she agrees otherwise, the excess employee will not be involuntarily terminated by the Secretary under section 29 of the PS Act until the following retention periods have elapsed:
    1. 56 weeks where an employee has 20 or more years of service or is over 45 years of age, or
    2. 30 weeks for other employees.
  2. If an employee is entitled to a redundancy payment under the NES, the retention period at clauses 265 a) and b) above, is reduced by a period equivalent to the employee’s entitlement under the NES.

Retention period commencement

  1. The retention period will commence on the earlier of the following:
    1. the day the employee is advised in writing by the Secretary that the employee is an excess employee or
    2. one month after the day on which the Secretary invites the employee to elect to be voluntarily retrenched.

Redeployment attempts

  1. During a retention period the Secretary will continue to provide appropriate training and take all reasonable steps to find alternative employment for the excess employee, including consideration of options such as redeployment and reduction of classification.

Extension of retention period due to illness

  1. The retention period as provided for in this Agreement will be extended by periods of leave for personal illness or injury, where supported by satisfactory medical evidence.

Travel expenses incurred

  1. The excess employee may request assistance in meeting reasonable travel and incidental expenses incurred in seeking alternative employment where these expenses are not met by a prospective employer.

Retirement during retention period

  1. Where the Secretary believes there is insufficient productive work available for an excess employee during the retention period, the Secretary may terminate the employee’s employment under section 29 of the PS Act, and pay a lump sum comprising:
    1. Where the Secretary believes there is insufficient productive work available for an excess employee during the retention period, the Secretary may terminate the employee’s employment under section 29 of the PS Act, and pay a lump sum comprising:
      1. the balance of the retention period (as shortened for the NES) under clauses 265 and 266 and this payment will be taken to include the payment in lieu of notice of termination of employment, plus
      2. the employee’s NES entitlement to redundancy pay.

    Must receive offer of voluntary retrenchment

    1. An excess employee will not be retrenched involuntarily where the employee:
      1. has not been invited to elect to be voluntarily retrenched or
      2. has elected to be voluntarily retrenched but the Secretary has refused to approve it.

    Notice period

    1. An excess employee will be given four weeks’ notice (or five weeks’ notice for an employee over 45 years of age with at least five years of continuous service) where it is proposed that the employee will be involuntarily terminated under section 29 of the PS Act.

    Reduction in classification

    1. During a retention period, the Secretary:
      1. will continue to take reasonable steps to find alternative employment for the excess employee and/or
      2. may, with four weeks’ notice, reduce the excess employee's classification as a means of securing alternative employment for the excess employee.

    Income maintenance as a result of reduction in classification

    1. Where an excess employee is reduced in classification before the end of the appropriate retention period, the employee will continue to be paid at the employee’s previous level for the balance of the retention period with the exception of reductions in line with section 15 of the PS Act.