Department of Health and Ageing Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014

Part J – People Management

Page last updated: 31 October 2011

76. General

76.1 All Staff are required to maintain knowledge of the employment framework provided in this Agreement. Further information on general performance expectations and effective people management is available in the Employment Guidelines, the Capability Map and Work Level Standards.

Fitness for duty

76.2 The process for managing health related employment issues is set out in the department’s Fitness for Continued Duty Guideline.

Loss of essential qualifications

76.3 Where a Staff member loses an essential qualification, the Staff member’s ongoing employment will be discussed between the Staff member and the Secretary .

Work Level Standards

76.4 All Managers should take into account the objectives and principles of the department's Work Level Standards, in:
  1. creating new, or reviewing existing positions;
  2. determining required performance standards and development needs of Staff;
  3. allocating tasks.

77. Performance management

77.1 The PDS is the department’s key performance management and development system for Staff. The department’s performance management expectations for a Staff member are set out in the department’s PDS, Capability Map and Work Level Standards.

77.2 Specific performance requirements will be outlined in a Staff member’s PDS agreement. The PDS provides the basis for individual salary advancement, based on a four-point scale (five-point scale for Research Scientist and Legal Officers), through salary ranges for the Staff member’s current classification.

77.3 The principles of the PDS include joint responsibility, agreement, fairness, equity, consistency and ‘no surprises’.

Joint responsibility

77.4 The Staff member and the Staff member’s Manager are jointly responsible for developing a PDS agreement. Feedback regarding a Staff member’s performance is part of ongoing activities, including the opportunity for informal upwards feedback. Managers will apply a ‘no surprises’ principle to keep a Staff member regularly informed of the Staff member’s performance throughout the PDS cycle.

Four week improvement period

77.5 A Staff member will be provided a minimum of four weeks, prior to the end of cycle assessment, to improve the Staff member’s performance where it is below the performance standards.

Formal assessment points

77.6 Two formal PDS assessment will occur with:
  1. one at the mid cycle in February, and
  2. one at the end of the cycle in July.
77.7 Further information on the PDS is available in the department’s PDS Guidelines.
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78. Managing underperformance

Performance standards

78.1 The performance standard assessed through the PDS is the second from the top rating on the four-point PDS rating scale (third from the top rating on the five-point PDS rating for Research Scientists and Legal Officers).

78.2 The department is committed to clearly defining work performance standards with a Staff member. Staff will receive regular and specific feedback on the Staff member’s performance and will be provided with appropriate support from the Staff member’s Manager in meeting expected performance standards.


78.3 In addressing underperformance the PDS framework is designed to:
  1. be timely and effective;
  2. restore performance of the Staff member to the required standard;
  3. have regard to the individual circumstances of the Staff member, including any health issues;
  4. have regard to natural justice and procedural fairness;
  5. include learning and development as the focus for improving performance
  6. have active performance management as an integral part of the workplace culture;
  7. require performance measures and standards to be clearly defined.

Application of the framework

78.4 The framework does not apply to:
  1. a Staff member during a period of probation;
  2. a non-ongoing Staff member; or
  3. a Staff member being case managed due to a suspected breach of the code of conduct, identified medical condition/injury or loss of essential qualifications.
78.5 Further information on the framework for managing cases of underperformance is available in the department’s Managing Underperformance Guideline.

79. Skills and knowledge development

Learning and development

79.1 The Secretary recognises the importance of a comprehensive learning and development framework for all Staff and Managers that:
  1. develops and supports professional and technical expertise;
  2. articulates organisational priorities and the range of learning and development mechanisms consistently available to support the development of Staff to meet the priority capabilities, skills and knowledge identified in their PDS individual development plans and for the Staff member’s level and work area;
  3. recognises the role of relevant external studies, and provides support for approved tertiary studies through the Studybank scheme; and
  4. develops the skills and capabilities of Managers to deliver business outcomes.
79.2 Staff and Managers should use this framework in their PDS discussions to set goals and agree on Individual Development Plans.
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80. Continuing professional development

Professional appointments with mandatory qualifications

80.1 The department recognises that a number of professional employment streams including, but not limited to, medical, legal, and nursing require continuing professional development to maintain their qualifications, practicing certificates and relevant skills. The department will:
  1. provide access to training; or
  2. on application meet the reasonable costs of continuing professional development;
for a Staff member in a professional stream for which the department requires the Staff member to hold mandatory qualifications.

80.2 Where a Staff member has received a Professional Development Allowance (PDA), that PDA must be used entirely before an application under clause 80.1(b) is made.

Commonwealth Nursing Officers (CNOs)

80.3 To assist with maintaining professional registration standards and undertaking their professional roles, CNOs will receive a PDA of $2000 per annum paid fortnightly. Treatment of this allowance for particular purposes is at Attachment B.

Medical Officers – professional development

80.4 Medical Officers are eligible to receive a PDA of $4500 each financial year on a reimbursement basis, to assist in attaining and maintaining work relevant agreed skills and knowledge. Part-time Medical Officers will have access to the full amount of PDA.

80.5 The allowance will be available pro-rata for Medical Officers commencing service part way through a financial year.

80.6 The allowance rate may be increased by the Secretary in circumstances where it is agreed that the standard amount is insufficient to meet relevant and approved professional development.

80.7 As part of the PDS process, Medical Officers will identify their learning and development needs as agreed with the Staff member’s Manager. Where Medical Officers attend training or courses identified on their Individual Development Plan (IDP) they will be considered to be on duty and no leave application is required.

80.8 In addition, attendance at conferences and seminars may be granted by the Secretary where it is directly relevant to the Medical Officer’s current role, and having regard to any necessary medical registration or medical college requirements and operational requirements. In these circumstances the absence will be treated the same as for attendance at approved training or courses.

Right to medical practice through outside employment

80.9 Where approved, Medical Officers may engage in outside medical practice to a maximum of half a day per week (averaged over a 12 month period) during normal working hours, with no adjustment to salary.

80.10 Medical Officers may access up to an additional four half days per month during normal working hours for outside medical practice subject to operational requirements and the agreement of the Manager and the Chief Medical Officer or Principal Medical Advisor of the Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA) (as appropriate). This additional time will be taken as leave without pay or ‘made up’ at another time.

80.11 Access to outside medical practice will be pro-rata for part-time Medical Officers.

80.12 Further Information about provisions for Medical Officers is available in the Medical Officer Guideline.
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81. Workplace diversity

81.1 The department is an inclusive organisation that values fairness, equity and diversity consistent with the APS Values and Code of Conduct.

81.2 The Secretary respects and values the diversity of its workforce, provides support and education to prevent and eliminate harassment and bullying, and discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction, and social origin, in accordance with our obligations under section 351 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

81.3 This Agreement and the department’s workplace diversity and anti-harassment initiatives, including the Workplace Harassment Contact Officer program, support and comply with the department’s obligations under Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation and principles of reasonable adjustment.

81.4 The department will make reasonable endeavours over the life of the Agreement to make adaptive technologies and flexible working arrangements available to Staff identifying with a disability.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff

81.5 The department will continue to develop and implement strategies to provide a sensitive and supportive working environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff that includes culturally responsive professional training, support and career development opportunities. The department is committed to ensuring that our workplace is culturally safe and supportive for all.

81.6 The department’s Reconciliation Action Plan and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Action Plan articulate the commitment to recruit, retain and develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and increase the cultural awareness of non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff. In doing so the department will continue to work with and support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network.

81.7 Consistent with the Government’s commitment through COAG to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment to 2.7% by 2015, the department will make all reasonable endeavours during the life of the Agreement with this goal in mind. The department in consultation with Staff and representatives, will implement targeted strategies to improve the attraction and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff.

81.8 The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network will be maintained. The Network will be open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff.

Supporting mature age staff

81.9 The Secretary values the extensive skills, expertise and corporate knowledge held by mature age Staff.

Financial assistance

81.10 To assist with retirement planning, Staff aged 54 years and over who are approaching or genuinely considering retirement, may access financial assistance in the form of a one off reimbursement payment up to a total maximum of $500 (inclusive of GST) to obtain financial advice from a registered financial advisor.

81.11 Further information regarding support for mature age Staff is available in the Mature Age Staff Policy.
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