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The following information is about the promotion of an APS employee to a higher classification level.

Information on the movement of APS employees between APS agencies at their existing or a lower or classification level.

Information for APS employees looking to change jobs in the APS.


An ongoing APS employee can be promoted on an ongoing basis within their current agency, or they can be promoted to another APS agency.

Promotion decisions in the APS must be based on merit as described in the APS Employment Principles (section 10A of the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act).

See Merit in recruitment for more information.

Review of promotion decisions

Under certain circumstances, promotion decisions in relation to APS 1 to APS 6 level jobs may be subject to review by the Merit Protection Commissioner.

For further information see Promotion Reviews.

Date of effect

Where the promotion is not subject to review

  • The date of effect of the promotion is a date agreed by the relevant parties or otherwise four weeks after the decision is notified in the Public Service Gazette (the Gazette). This applies regardless of whether the promotion is within the same agency or to another agency.
  • The date of effect of the promotion is determined by the date of notification in the Gazette. Where the move is to another agency, the losing agency cannot prevent or delay the promotion taking effect.
  • However, the employee and the relevant agencies can agree to a different date, provided that it is after the date the decision is notified in the Gazette.

Where the promotion may be subject to review

  • An application to have a promotion decision reviewed will need to be made within the application period. This is generally a period of two weeks following the notification of the promotion in the Gazette. However, the Merit Protection Commissioner can approve a longer application period.
  • Where no application for review is lodged, the date of effect of the promotion is two weeks after the application period has ended or a date agreed by the employee and the relevant agencies that is not earlier than the end of the application period.
  • Where an application for review is lodged, then a number of factors determine the date of effect. These are described in section 36 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Direction 2016 (the Directions). Most commonly, the promotion takes effect four weeks after the gaining agency head is notified of the Promotion Review Committee's decision or on a date agreed to by the employee and the relevant agencies.
  • Different provisions apply where an employee who is promoted to another agency is subject to a Code of Conduct investigation. (See section 38 of the Directions).

Senior Executive Service (SES) promotions

In the case of SES promotions, a representative of the Commissioner must participate in the selection process and certify that the process complied with the legislative framework. See Senior Executive Service: An HR practitioner's guide to engagement, promotion, mobility and separation for further information.

Moves to higher classifications that are not promotions

None of the following moves are regarded as a promotion:

  • the assignment of duties at a higher classification in a broadband to an ongoing APS employee already within the same broadband in the same agency;
  • the allocation of an operational classification to a trainee under the Public Service Classification Rules 2000 following the satisfactory completion of the relevant training requirement;
  • the temporary assignment of duties to an APS employee at a higher classification than the employee's substantive classification (often referred to as higher duties); or
  • following a voluntary temporary reduction in an ongoing APS employee's classification, the ongoing assignment of duties to the employee at the employee's original classification.


Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018