Ministers' Office Handbook
Policy on severance payments for political office holders’ staff
(This policy applies to political office holders’ staff only and not to NSW Government sector employees seconded to political office holders’ offices.)
Employees are entitled to severance payments on a full time equivalent basis when their employment in a political office holder’s office is terminated for any reason (other than for reasons of misconduct and/or poor performance or at the employee’s own request or through the employee’s resignation).
Employees who receive a severance payment will be required to refund to the Crown any portion of the payment applying to the period of re-employment should they be re-employed in any capacity in a NSW Government sector service within the period covered by the severance payment, e.g. an employee who received 20 weeks’ severance pay and then secured employment with a NSW Government sector agency after 10 weeks, would be required to re-pay 10 weeks of the severance pay. The repayment should be made to the new employing agency. Severance payments are conditional on signature of the below Undertaking.
All periods of continuous service with NSW Government sector services are included when calculating severance pay which is based on the length of continuous service, provided no previous severance or redundancy payment has been made for any of this service.
Continuous service is defined as being employed without a break of a working day (e.g. resigning from a NSW Government sector service and commencing in the Minister’s Office the next working day).
The components of severance payments are:
- Notice or payment in lieu in accordance with the following table.
Period of notice or payment in lieu
Period of notice or payment in lieu for employees aged 45 years and over with 5 or more years of completed service
Any period of service for an indefinite period
4 weeks (full time equivalent basis)
5 weeks (full time equivalent basis)
- Any benefit allowable as a contributor to a retirement fund.
- Pro rata annual leave loading in respect of leave accrued (full time equivalent basis) at the date of termination.
- Severance payment (full time equivalent basis) at the rate of 3 weeks per year of continuous service with a maximum of 39 weeks, with pro rata payments for incomplete years of service to be on a quarterly basis.
Following a State election or a political office holder ceasing to hold office, staff employment may be continued for a temporary period of up to 3 months to assist with the establishment of new Ministers’ offices. At the conclusion of such temporary employment, where staff are not further employed in a Minister’s office, severance provisions will apply as if the staff member’s employment had been terminated. Transitional arrangements are subject to the approval of the Premier’s Chief of Staff.
Undertaking to refund severance payment in the event of re-employment or re-engagement in a NSW government sector agency
Severance payments to political office holders’ staff are made in accordance with the following policy on refunding the payment in certain circumstances, adapted from the policy on Managing Excess Employees.
Re-employment or Re-engagement
Employees who accept a severance payment cannot be re-employed or re-engaged in any capacity in any NSW Government sector agency within the period covered by their severance payment, without first repaying the relevant proportion of their severance pay.
This includes employment or engagement in any capacity as staff members, contractors, consultants or employees or principals of companies engaged in contracting to a NSW Government sector agency.
Obligations of Employees
Employees accepting a severance payment are required to sign an undertaking to refund to the Crown that proportion of the severance payment applying to the period of re-employment should they be re-employed or re-engaged in any capacity (including employment in temporary, part-time or casual employment, as a consultant, contractor or subcontractor) in a NSW Government sector agency within the period covered by the separation payment.
The repayment covers the relevant proportion of the severance payment (up to 39 weeks), but excludes the pay in lieu of notice.
Obligations of Employing Agencies
It is the responsibility of agency heads of the new employing organisation to ensure that this requirement for repayment is met.
Agencies must ensure that:
- The selection panel, convenor or manager responsible for recruitment ask the prospective employee questions regarding any previous NSW Government sector redundancy, retrenchment or termination payments. This must be done before any recommendation for permanent, temporary, part time, casual, contracting or consultancy engagement is submitted for approval.
- If repayment is required, such repayment is a condition of the offer of employment or engagement of the person as a consultant or contractor.
- Letters of employment inform prospective employees that non-disclosure of NSW Government redundancy payments which would otherwise be required to be proportionally refunded will invalidate the employment and may result in the employment being annulled.
UNDERTAKING TO REFUND
I undertake to refund to the Crown the appropriate proportion of my severance payment if I am re-employed or re-engaged in any capacity in any NSW Government sector agency within the period covered by the severance payment, as specified in the policy.