Extension of Secondments and Inappropriate Advice from Managers

Posted December 22, 2011 by Alex Scott

Recently there have been some issues with advice being provided to employees who are coming to the end of an approved secondment period and are exploring their options to extend that secondment arrangement.  Essentially, members have reported that some managers are advising that they should consider resigning from the Department and are not open to considering any other avenue to continue their seconded arrangement.

Recently there have been some issues with advice being provided to employees who are coming to the end of an approved secondment period and are exploring their options to extend that secondment arrangement.  Essentially, members have reported that some managers are advising that they should consider resigning from the Department and are not open to considering any other avenue to continue their seconded arrangement.

Our union is very concerned that any manager would make a statement such as this and consequently, Together representatives have participated in discussions with senior Human Resources representatives to clarify the Department’s position. HR have confirmed that it is not appropriate for a manager to suggest that an employee resign and that different avenues should be considered to try to meet the employee’s preference, whilst keeping in mind that operational requirements take precedence. 

Further, it is important to note that both parties agree the overarching principle in these situations is that the Chief Executive (or delegated officer) has the right to refuse a secondment or extension to a secondment, based on business requirements.

The Department have now released a communiqué clarifying their position. The communiqué is copied below for member's reference.

If you have any queries about this matter please contact the union office at communities@together.org.au 

Together Queensland has raised some concerns regarding the conversations which may have been occurring between managers and their employees who are seeking a secondment, higher duties or relieving-at-level arrangement beyond a 12 month period.

The following should be noted when making a decision on these arrangements:

Managers, supervisors and employees should take a collaborative approach when discussing and organising these types of arrangements, to ensure that there is a balance between individual and organisational needs.

The decision to agree to second, offer higher duties or relieving-at-level to an officer, or extend an existing arrangement, is at the discretion of the chief executive (or delegate) of the releasing agency or work unit.    All decisions, relating to an arrangement and/or extension of an arrangement must be agreed to by both departments or work units, documented in writing and have the approval of the delegate prior to the employee's release.

Secondments, higher duties or relieving-at-level arrangements should not exceed 12 months, except where written consent is obtained prior to commencement of the arrangement.

If a secondment, higher duties or relieving-at-level arrangement is sought beyond 12 months consideration should be given to a transfer-at-level of the employee to the receiving agency or work unit.  Under no circumstances should an employee seeking a secondment, higher duties or relieving-at-level arrangement be asked to resign or requested to consider resigning. 

It should also be noted that in some circumstances it will not always be possible to approve these types of arrangements due to pressing organisational needs.

 


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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