New VPS Enterprise Agreement commences operation today, so time to understand what changes you need to make

From immediately, the brand new Victorian Public Service Enterprise Agreement 2020 (VPS Agreement) is in operation, with a nominal expiry date of 20 March 2024. It will cowl most non-executive VPS staff, changing the present phrases and circumstances of employment contained within the well-worn Victorian Public Service Enterprise Agreement 2016 (2016 Agreement).

No doubt the delicate changes caused by the VPS Agreement will reveal themselves in follow over the subsequent 4 years. For now, under are the important thing substantive changes which Victorian Government companies coated by the VPS Agreement ought to pay attention to, and the changes you will need to make within the quick, medium and long run.

Mobility of Employees all through the VPS

Mobility is a central function of the brand new VPS Agreement. The acknowledged intention of Mobility is to facilitate the continued employment of Employees who could also be deployed to totally different places and roles within the VPS so as to meet altering calls for on authorities companies.

Clause 15 units out the Mobility Principles, which embrace:

  • a recognition that public service work is consistently altering, due to elements comparable to: new governmental priorities; inhabitants development; the tempo and scale of technological development; altering neighborhood service supply expectations; and the need to reply to evolving complicated public coverage issues or crises;
  • that embracing these altering priorities is crucial to offering safe and versatile employment for Employees; and
  • that the VPS is an expert public service, and a profession path selection, and that there needs to be a concentrate on Employees gaining related and various abilities and expertise throughout the general public service.

Clause 15 incorporates an announcement of intention that the VPS Agreement as a complete is to be interpreted in a way in step with the Mobility Principles, and an categorical dedication that the events will work to operationalise the Mobility Principles over the lifetime of the settlement.

In recognition of the Mobility Principles, a brand new mobility cost (akin to an annual bonus) has been launched within the VPS Agreement. This might be paid to all Employees, no matter whether or not they’re truly affected by mobility changes or necessities or not, and made yearly on 1 July of every 12 months as a lump sum, efficient from 1 July 2020.

The quantity paid to every Employee might be equal to 1.25% of the highest of every VPS Value Range or Grade. For the opposite classification constructions beneath the VPS Agreement, the mobility cost might be aligned to the equal VPS fee. Over the lifetime of the VPS Agreement, the potential annual funds vary from simply over $600 for some staff and up to $3000 for others.

Leave entitlements

Another substantial space of change beneath the VPS Agreement is to depart preparations and particularly, parental depart. The most notable enhancements to these entitlements are outlined under.

Taking and accrual of annual depart whereas on employees’ compensation

Clause 44.4 of the VPS Agreement has been included to make clear that Employees who’re off work and in receipt of employees’ compensation funds might be in a position to take and accrue annual and private depart. This modification ought to overcome any beforehand current uncertainty concerning the software of part 130 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in Victoria and the Full Court of the Federal Court’s choice in Anglican Care v NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association [2015] FCAFC 81.

Personal/Carers Leave

The foundation for which an Employee could entry his or her accrued Personal/Carer’s Leave has been amended and Employees are actually particularly entitled to take paid private/carer’s depart for the aim of:

  • attendance at a medical appointment with a Registered Practitioner when the appointment can’t be affordable scheduled exterior the Employee’s working hours; and
  • to look after an Assistance Animal who requires care or assist.

Parental depart

Among essentially the most important and beneficiant of the changes ushered in by the VPS Agreement is the brand new and improved parental depart entitlement.

The parental depart entitlement for an Employee who’s a main carer on the time of the start or adoption of the kid has elevated from 14 weeks to 16 weeks of paid depart.

The parental depart entitlement for an Employee who’s a secondary carer on the time of the start or adoption of the kid has been elevated from 2 weeks to 4 weeks of paid depart. In addition, an additional 12 weeks’ paid depart is obtainable to a secondary carer who turns into the first carer for the kid throughout the first 78 weeks (18 months) of the start or adoption.

This entitlement will present a big profit not solely to Employees who may in any other case solely be a secondary caregiver, or a subsequent unpaid main caregiver, to their baby, in addition to to the preliminary main caregiver at residence (whether or not a VPS Employee or not), who could have the opportunity to return to work to progress his or (extra generally) her profession at an earlier alternative than would beforehand have been possible.

Clause 55 additionally expands the present eligibility to parental depart to present entry to entitlements to Employees whose baby is born through surrogate, and to make clear that if an Employee is on parental depart, they aren’t required to return to work so as to entry an additional interval of parental depart.

In addition, there’s now extra flexibility with how depart may be taken, as the present requirement that parental depart be taken in a single unbroken interval is amended to permit dad and mom to use their depart to share care in a way which fits them, topic to operational necessities. Employees will even be entitled to paid lactation breaks on return to work.

Misconduct and unsatisfactory work efficiency

The clauses coping with unsatisfactory work efficiency and misconduct stay substantively unchanged from the acquainted content material of clauses 20 and 21 of the 2016 Agreement. There are nevertheless, just a few amendments which warrant a point out:

Management of unsatisfactory work efficiency

Clause 24.7 has been amended to make clear that, prior to commencing the formal unsatisfactory work efficiency course of, the Employer and the Employee could agree that if the Employee just isn’t able to assembly the required degree of efficiency the Employer could reassign the Employee to an acceptable various place the place moderately practicable, which can even be at a decrease grade.

Any such reassignment could be taken by settlement of the Employer and Employee in lieu of enterprise an unsatisfactory work efficiency course of beneath clause 24.

Management of misconduct

Some purchasers could have encountered a difficulty with the present clause 21.12(b) of the 2016 Agreement, concerning self-discipline outcomes, which supplies that “…the attainable self-discipline outcomes are: …”, after which lists a severe of accessible sanctions separated by the phrase “or”.

Our purchasers have beforehand grappled with the unlucky uncertainty as to whether or not it was throughout the energy given by the clause to style an end result that features a number of sanctions, or whether or not the sanctions apply disjunctively, that means that just one could also be utilized. In some circumstances, an Employer could take into account it applicable to apply a couple of sanction to appropriately deal with confirmed misconduct with out having to resort to termination of employment. For apparent causes, in such circumstances it’s preferable that there’s readability that that method is in step with the enterprise settlement.

Clause 25.12(c) of the VPS Agreement now consists of an modification to make clear that the Employer could apply a mixture of self-discipline sanctions to type a single disciplinary end result so as to keep away from a extra severe end result (comparable to termination of employment).

There is one other notable modification to the Management of Misconduct clause which Employers ought to pay attention to. Clause 25.14(b) now supplies {that a} celebration to a misconduct investigation could invoke a dispute beneath clause 13 (Resolution of Disputes) on the query of procedural equity, if an investigation beneath clause 25.10 has not be accomplished inside six months of the Employee being suggested of the alleged misconduct.

Salary will increase

As was extensively reported on the time the VPS Agreement was voted up, Employees will obtain wage will increase of simply over 8% over the 4 12 months lifetime of the settlement, in addition to related will increase to allowances, with the primary will increase payable with impact from 20 March 2020.


The probationary interval for a brand new Employee is now six months (up from three months). Accordingly, the proper to prolong the probationary interval for an additional three months has been eliminated.

Further, clause 18.3 has been amended to make clear that the probationary interval is served on graduation of employment throughout the VPS and never a person division or company.

Night shift penalties

The penalty for evening shift has elevated to 20%, which was beforehand 15%. This new fee commences with impact from 1 July 2020.

To give impact to this, new definitions for evening shift have been created so as to create a distinction between evening and afternoon shifts. As such, an evening shift should meet one of many following circumstances:

  • begin on or after 8:00pm and earlier than 6:00am; or
  • embrace a interval of obligation which ends at 6:00am to begin prior to 8:00pm and finishes on or after 6:00am; or
  • nearly all of the interval of obligation is after 10:00pm.


From 1 July 2020, the additional time calculation cap might be elevated from the best pay level inside Grade 3, Value vary 1 to the bottom pay level inside Grade 4.

Gender equality

Clause 28 of the VPS Agreement seeks to operationalise the Government’s gender pay fairness rules to deal with a gender pay hole. This clause establishes a overview course of (which is successfully a separate dispute decision course of) for coping with a declare by an Employee, a bunch of Employees or the CPSU, relating to gender equality rules, and permits a decision of such a declare by the Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner. If the Commissioner is unable to resolve a declare, it could be referred as a dispute of a collective character for decision by the Fair Work Commission.

Under clause 28, Employers are additionally to seek the advice of with the CPSU in preparation of Gender Equality Action Plans pursuant to the Gender Equality Act 2020 (Vic).

Complying with the brand new Victorian Public Service Enterprise Agreement 2020

Compliance with the changes above may be triaged as:

Short time period: as a precedence, guarantee your inside pay and different methods are amended to mirror the changes to additional time, penalties and depart accrual, together with the interplay of depart and employees’ compensation.

Medium time period: probation overview processes will need to be up to date, together with inside misconduct and efficiency procedures, and the changes to wage.

Longer time period: the brand new Gender Equality complaints process could effectively require a overview of your inside criticism dealing with procedures to incorporate it. In addition, you may want to get forward of any issues by reviewing your personal remuneration construction to determine any potential causes of criticism.

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