Public sector employees have different employment conditions according to the legislation and industrial award or agreement that applies to a particular type of job and the employing agency. Each State and Territory in Australia can legislate their own laws related to the public sector employees.

The major Federal Law relating to public sector employee is Fair Work Act, 2009, Public Service Act, 2009, Public Service Regulations, 1999 to name a few. In New South Wales the major law relating to public sector employees is Public Sector Employment Legislation Amendment Act 2006.

Public Sector Employees

Public sector employees are employed at all levels of the Government, from the Federal, State, and Local levels to special districts. They represent a wide variety of public employees, including law enforcement officers, fire fighters, teachers, school employees, local government employees and many more. They are recruited, appointed, or chosen for the civil service on the basis of their merit. The public sector generally follows rigid hiring guidelines. A specific number of qualified candidates are interviewed across months before hiring takes place in any public sector organisation.

Generally, the legislation in the Commonwealth and in the States follows a standard pattern of substantial prescription. For example, the Public Service Act 2009, gives detailed substantive rules and processes for the structure of the service, job classifications, appointment of the majority of staff to ‘offices’.This amounted in practice to permanent employment subject to probation, promotion, transfer, discipline and termination, whether by retirement, redundancy or dismissal. Discipline and dismissal are subject to due process and there is also an appeal system for promotions.

The Public Service Commission recognises the rights of public sector employees and also re-addresses their employment grievances. The Public Service Commission is set up in all States which has the goal to establish a regulation framework for the public sector thereby enabling agencies to deliver responsive Government services to the community in an ethical and accountable manner.

Special Protections

Public sector employees have comparatively greater protections in their job than those in the private sector. They have additional protections covered under Public Sector Employment Legislation Amendment Act 2006 and Public Sector Employment and Management Amendment (Extended Leave) Act 2005.

Some of the special protections include:

Due Process: Many government employees (those who have obtained “tenure,” civil service protection, or otherwise become “permanent” employees) have a constitutionally protected interest in not being terminated or disciplined without due process;

First Amendment: The Government cannot retaliate against its employees for speaking out on matters of public concern beyond the scope of their job duties;

Equal Protection: The Government cannot treat similarly situated differently without a legitimate reason or in an arbitrary or contrary manner; and

Discrimination: No discrimination against public sector employees because of union activity or membership, sexual orientation, genetic information or gender expression.

We represent many civil servants, law enforcement officers, and other public sector employees. In case you need any assistance, feel free to contact our team of experts at Owen Hodge Lawyers.

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Employment Contracts & Awards
What to Consider When Hiring a Contractor
Workplace Rights and Adverse Action
Wrongful Dismissal Vs Unfair Dismissal
Executive Employment Agreements rather then Employment Law
Breach Of Employment Contract / Wrongful Dismissal
Breach Of Fiduciary Duties
Changes to Parental Leave

Disciplinary Matters – Deceptive And Misleading Conduct
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How to deal with Workplace Bullying
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Redundancy & Redundancy Pay
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Restraint of Trade
Small To Medium Businesses And Employment Law
Surveillance in the Workplace
Terminating Employment Contracts
Think twice before Dismissing Employees on Workers’ Compensation
Unfair Dismissal – Not Covered By An Award
When Competitors Steal Staff There Are Legal Consequences
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