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Circular 2015/7: Amendments to the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013 (2015 Measures No. 2)

  1. This circular is to advise agencies of amendments to the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013 (the Commissioner's Directions) that are effective from 30 November 2015.
  2. Following the July amendments to provide greater flexibility to agencies in managing recruitment activity, further amendments to the Commissioner's Directions have been made to:
    1. provide for any Australian Public Service (APS) employee to convert from ongoing to non-ongoing without undergoing a selection process
    2. simplify the requirements for the engagement of a former APS employee who has accepted a redundancy benefit
    3. further streamline content, including removing redundant or unnecessarily prescriptive directions, and
    4. remove the requirement for agencies to obtain the agreement of the Australian Public Service Commissioner to the amount to be paid to an Senior Executive Service (SES) employee as an incentive to retire.

Engagement of ongoing employee as non-ongoing employee

  1. Clause 2.14 of the Commissioner's Directions has been amended to extend to all APS employees, not only SES employees. This clause allows Agency Heads to engage ongoing employees as non-ongoing employees without undertaking a competitive selection process as specified in Part 2.1 of the Commissioner's
    Directions, provided the following conditions are met:
    1. the person is to be engaged for a specified term or a specified task; and
    2. the person resigns their ongoing employment in order to be reengaged as a non-ongoing employee; and
    3. the engagement is at the same or a lower classification.
  2. One example of the application of this clause is to allow Agency Heads to support staff in accessing transition to retirement arrangements. Members of the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) who have reached their preservation age may be able to access transition to retirement arrangements. These
    arrangements are available to part-time non-ongoing employees, who cease to be a CSS contributing member.
  3. Further guidance can be found on the Transition to retirement arrangements for CSS members page.
  4. Changing status from ongoing to non-ongoing employment is not an entitlement. Authority rests with Agency Heads to determine if the agency is able to accommodate such an arrangement.
  5. The requirements for the engagement of non-ongoing employees under Regulations 3.4 and 3.5 of the Public Service Regulations 1999 describing limitations to specified term and specified task engagement will apply.

Restrictions on engaging a person who has received a redundancy benefit

  1. Clause 7.1 of the Commissioner's Directions has been amended so that Agency Heads will no longer need to consult the Commissioner before:
    1. engaging a person as a non-ongoing non-SES employee, or
    2. engaging an employee overseas under section 74 of the Public Service Act 1999 (the Act), or
    3. extending a non-ongoing engagement, while that person is still within their redundancy benefit period. This is commonly referred to as a restriction period.
  2. The requirement for an Agency Head to obtain the Commissioner's approval before engaging a person still within their restriction period as an ongoing employee or a non-ongoing SES employee remains in place.
  3. In making a decision to engage a person within their restriction period, an Agency Head must consider the engagement to be essential, having due regard to his or her obligations to uphold the merit Employment Principles. This requires assessment of the person's work-related qualities and the duties
    to be performed.
  4. In addition to this amendment, Clause 7.1 has been rewritten in plainer language. There is no change to the calculation of the restriction period, or to the payments defined as a redundancy benefit.
  5. Further guidance can be found in the Engagement of people who have received a redundancy benefit.
  6. Consequential amendments have also been made to subclauses 2.8(1)(g) and 4 to reflect the changes detailed above.

Termination of employment of non-ongoing APS employees

  1. Clause 7.2 of the Commissioner's Directions, which sets out requirements related to the termination of non-ongoing employment, has been repealed as it has no practical effect. Agency Heads' obligations on termination of employment are contained in employment agreements, contracts and determinations
    which continue to apply.

Incentive to retire—SES employee

  1. Clause 7.3 of the Commissioner's Directions, which sets out requirements related to the offering of incentive to retire payments, has been repealed. Agency Heads are no longer required to seek the agreement of the Commissioner to the amount to be paid.
  2. Agencies are expected to have regard to the Commissioner's policy on incentives to retire available on the Commission's website.

Further information

  1. Information on the changes to the Commissioner's Directions and on this circular can be obtained from the Commission's Staffing Policy team on 02 6202 3857 or by email to staffingpolicy [at] apsc.gov.au.

Karin Fisher
Group Manager, Employment Policy
Australian Public Service Commission
30 November 2015

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018