An agency head may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, engage a person as an ongoing employee (see para 22(2)(a) of the Public Service Act 1999 (the Act)). This is the usual basis for engagement in the Australian Public Service (APS).
Agencies must notify ongoing APS job vacancies in the APS Employment Gazette. Agencies may supplement this notification through press and other forms of advertising to attract and target a wider field of applicants. However, any such advertising must occur no later than 4 weeks after the date of the original Gazette notification. This ensures that all eligible members of the community have the opportunity to apply for APS employment (see para 10(1)(m) of the Act).
Each APS agency conducts its own recruitment selection processes to fill ongoing APS vacancies, however agencies must base a decision to engage an ongoing employee on merit, as defined under subsection 10(2) of the Act and Chapter 4 of the Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 1999 (the Commissioner’s Directions).
Conditions of employment
An agency may choose to impose one or more conditions of engagement on an ongoing APS employee (see section 22(6) of the Act). These include:
- formal qualifications
- security and character clearances
- health clearances.
Assignment of duties
An agency head may determine the duties of an APS employee and the place or places at which the duties are performed (see section 25 of the Act). However, it is essential that a competitive assessment of merit serve as the basis for promotion and engagement decisions. These decisions must also involve a fair and transparent competitive selection process that assesses the relative suitability of applicants for the duties (see subsection 10(2) of the Act and Direction 2.3(1)(a) of the Commissioner’s Directions).
A promotion is the assignment of duties, on a permanent basis, to an ongoing APS employee (other than a trainee) of duties at a higher classification than the employee’s current classification (see Clause 4.6 of the Commissioner’s Directions). An agency head must ensure that an open, competitive merit-based process is undertaken before promoting an APS employee (see subsection 10(2) of the Act). Information about this process must be readily available to applicants and the selection process must be transparent and applied fairly (see Direction 2.3 of the Commissioner’s Directions).
Non-ongoing to ongoing
If a non-ongoing APS employee wishes to become an ongoing APS employee they must apply for an advertised ongoing employment opportunity and be the successful candidate of a merit-based selection process. They may also apply for vacancies restricted to existing APS employees if they were employed in the APS on the date that the particular vacancy was advertised in the Gazette (see Item 1(b) of Schedule 2 to the Commissioner’s Directions).
Termination of employment
An agency head may at any time, by notice in writing, terminate the employment of an APS ongoing employee (see subsection 29(1) of the Act). The only grounds for the termination of an ongoing APS employee are outlined in subsection 29(3) of the Act. The termination and the ground(s) for the termination of an ongoing APS employee must be notified in the Gazette (see Regulation 3.12 of the Public Service Regulations 1999).
Engagement of redundancy benefit recipients
Circular 2009/2 advises that, effective 1 March 2009, the provisions relating to the subsequent employment of a redundancy benefit recipient in the APS have been amended to:
- remove most non-APS Commonwealth employers from coverage by the arrangements; and link the period of exclusion to the level of the redundancy benefit received.
Please refer to the Circular for more information.
- Public Service Act 1999, sections 10, 22, 25 & 29
- Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 1999, Direction 2.3, Chapter 4
- Public Service Regulations 1999, Regulation 3.12
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- FAQ: Applying for an APS job
- FAQ: Applying for graduate positions
- FAQ: Criminal record or bankrupt
- FAQ: Dual employment
- FAQ: Employment agencies
- FAQ: Employment agency placement fees
- FAQ: Employment in the APS
- FAQ: Higher duties advertised
- FAQ: non-ongoing to ongoing employee
- FAQ: Promotion
- FAQ: Protective appeal
- FAQ: Selecting temporary higher duties
- FAQ: The APS
- FAQ: The Gazette
- Recruitment and selection in the APS: The legislative framework