Prior service hr directors / Managers Purpose

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Information Note 04/2006

Issued: 19 January 2006


HR Directors / Managers


  1. To provide agencies with general information on prior service recognition in the ACT Public Service. Note: Agencies should read this Information Note in conjunction with the employment legislative framework.

Employment Framework

  1. The ACTPS employment legislative framework regulates prior service. The main elements of the legislative framework include:

  • Public Sector Management Act 1994 and Management Standards 2006(PDF file);

  • Template Agreement comprising Part 1: Common Core Conditions and Part 2: Agency specific conditions;

  • Non Template Agreements (occupational specific agreements);

  • Awards.

  1. The following represents a basic view of the employment framework.

  1. Workplace Agreements (including current Certified Agreements and Australian Workplace Agreements).

  1. (Fair Pay Commission Standards)1

  1. Awards

  1. Public Sector Management Act 1994

  1. Public Sector Management Standards 2006

  1. The PSM Act and Management Standards (PDF file) are subordinate to Workplace Agreements and Awards. This is because Workplace Agreements and Awards are made under provisions of Commonwealth laws, which override inconsistent ACT laws. However, Awards are limited to minimum entitlements on a small number of allowable matters. If a condition is listed in the Award but more generous entitlements are available under the PSM Act or Standards, the more generous provisions in the PSM Act apply. Awards are not intended to reduce more beneficial entitlements.

  1. See Recruitment in the ACT Public Service for further information on the legislative employment framework.


  1. This note applies to prior service regulation under the PSM Act and Standards. The Template Agreement does not deal with prior service. Part 2 (agency conditions) of the Template Agreement or occupational specific agreements may deal with prior service. If this is the case, Part 2 or occupational specific agreements will override the PSM Act and Standards to the extent of any inconsistency.


  1. Prior service is employment within a recognised entity, for instance in a Commonwealth or State government Department, completed prior to the commencement of employment with the ACTPS. Prior service ceases to be recognised if the intervening period between the completion of the prior service and the commencement of employment with the ACTPS exceeds the prescribed time limit set out in the PSM Act and Standards. Further information is contained in paragraphs 16 (long service leave) and 46 (personal leave).


  1. Access to long service leave, paid maternity leave and personal leave is determined by the length of time a staff member has spent in the ACTPS. Prior service may also affect other entitlements, for example redundancy pay. Recognition of an eligible staff member’s prior service will mean that employment will be counted as Territory service when calculating eligibility to these entitlements.


  1. Generally public sector employment has been recognised for prior service.

  1. Before 23 January 2006 the Standards have relied upon a prescriptive list detailing public sector agencies with which prior service was recognised (see Attachment A, previous Standard 3, Part 19, Rule 9). This method has been replaced because the list became out of date quickly.

  1. A new definition based approach is in place on and from 23 January 2006. It is intended to cover all public sector entities. Additionally, in recognition of the need for flexibility due to the changing nature of combined public/private entities, discretion has been given to Chief Executives to recognise bodies, organisations and corporations, within certain parameters, for the purposes of long service leave, personal leave and maternity leave. See further paragraph 25 (long service leave), paragraphs 33 and 41 (maternity leave) and paragraph 45 (personal leave).

  1. The amendments also introduce a new Commissioner for Public Administration discretion, which applies to prior service not recognised under the new definition or Chief Executive discretion. For further information see paragraph 50.

Eligible staff members employed prior to 23 January 2006

  1. The new rules for prior service recognition are not retrospective. Staff employed in the ACTPS before 23 January 2006 are not affected by the amendment. Their prior service will continue to be recognised in accordance with the previous Standard 3, Part 19, Rule 9 (Attachment A). That is, prior employment with a listed organisation is counted subject to the rules of continuity of service. This is provided for in section 67 of the Standard. Additionally, the Commissioner may approve previous prior service for staff employed before 23 January 2006 under the Commissioner discretion provided in section 75 of the Standard (see paragraph 50).

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