20 October 2023

APSC trying hard to spruik money benefits of its package to public servants

| Chris Johnson
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Australian Government building. Australian Public Service Commission. Bureau of Meteorology.

The Australian Public Service Commission is going all out talking about the benefits of its package to APS staff. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The Australian Public Service Commission has intensified its information campaign to employees across the sector over the pay and conditions offer it has on the table.

In its latest bargaining update to the workforce, the Commission goes all out to spruik benefits of the package that has so far been rejected by the Community and Public Sector Union.

Under the banner of ‘What could you get? Conditions you may not know about’, the Commission highlights a “number of new or improved conditions” that will impact all APS employees.

The statement focuses on extra money for staff that is included in the package.

The union rejected the APSC offer of an 11.2 per cent service-wide wage increase over three years.

But the Commission is pointing out other financial benefits and incentives of the deal it wants to reach agreement on.

READ ALSO CPSU presses hard ‘no’ on pay deal as APSC highlights conditions on offer

The APS bargaining package of pay and conditions could now require employees to be paid an allowance if appointed or elected to one of the following roles:

  • First Aid Officer
  • Health and Safety Representative
  • Emergency Warden
  • Harassment Contact Officer
  • Mental Health First Aid Officer.

“Currently, many agencies don’t have all of these roles or don’t pay an allowance if they do have them. This change, therefore, represents an improvement for many across the service,” it states.

“The minimum rate is $29.34 per fortnight, which will be adjusted by the headline pay increase in line with your agency’s enterprise agreement. If your agency pays a higher rate, you’ll keep it.

“You are entitled to the full allowance regardless of flexible work and part-time arrangements.”

The update then moves to emergency response leave, saying employees who engage in eligible community service activities could get leave to volunteer in emergency management duties.

“Eligible community service activities include participation in voluntary emergency management activities for a recognised emergency management body,” it says.

“You could get 20 days paid leave to participate in the activity, reasonable travel time and reasonable recovery time. Your agency may approve more paid leave.

“You may also get reasonable paid or unpaid leave for ceremonial duties or training.”

READ ALSO Scyne gets the all-clear to take over PwC’s government work

The common workloads condition, the APSC update says, aims to help staff and agencies consider workloads and strike a balance between work and personal life.

Stressing its self-claimed status as an ’employer of choice’, the Commission says the government strives to support the APS with balanced workloads.

A clause in agreements outlines the importance of balancing work and personal life.

At times, staff may need to work some extra hours, but this is an exception rather than the rule.

Agencies will need to consider workloads to strike the right balance, and if significant workload pressure over a prolonged period is raised as an issue, reviews must be undertaken.

Strategies to manage this impact will be developed through consultation.

The newsletter then returns to money, asking: “What could you get? More in your pay packet.”

“Overall, there are some significant pay increases impacting the APS under the current APS bargaining package of pay and conditions,” it states.

“The approach to address pay fragmentation will see some significant increases for many APS employees.

“The adjusted approach creates a base salary range at each APS classification from APS1 to EL2, but further reduces the current average fragmentation from 25 per cent to 13 per cent.

“This is a significant first step following the decades it has taken to create these pay differences across the service.

“The approach to pay fragmentation will lift salaries in 83 different agencies, impacting almost 8,000 employees over the life of the enterprise agreements … The Commonwealth’s pay offer of 11.2 per cent over three years will apply on top of the new base salary structure.

“The approach follows the key principles: an agreed pay increase will apply on top of any change to salaries; no salaries will go backwards; no salaries will be frozen; and salary structures must have structural integrity.”

Appealing to casual employees in the sector, the Commission says outcomes of APS-wide bargaining could lift the casual loading from 20 per cent to 25 per cent across the service, being an improvement for more than 6500 casual employees in more than 75 agencies.

The Commonwealth’s pay offer of 11.2 per cent over three years will apply in addition to the casual loading changes.

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