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Leaving the Queensland government

You may choose to leave the Queensland Government at any point in your career. It could be to progress your career further with an opportunity outside government, or as a career break or an end to your career (retirement).

You can resign at any time from the Queensland Government. You must give appropriate notice. This is usually outlined in your award or as part of your appointment paperwork. Speak to your supervisor or HR team for help.

You can retire from government if you are 55 years of age or older. If you’re under 55 years of age, you may apply for early retirement or voluntary medical retirement if appropriate. See the Voluntary Medical Retirement (VMR) Scheme directive and Early Retirement, Redundancy and Retrenchment directive.

Voluntary medical retirement

For voluntary medical retirement, your agency must have agreed to the voluntary medical retirement scheme. Check with your supervisor or HR team to confirm.

You must have medical evidence certifying that you have an injury or illness that prevents you from continuing in or returning to your current role or other roles.

Retirement due to ill-health

You may be retired due to ill-health by your agency under Section 174 of the Public Service Act 2008. See the Managing employee health, safety and wellbeing–independent medical examinations guideline for more.

If your agency uses Queensland Shared Services payroll, complete a Separation form to notify them you’re leaving so they can finalise your pay.

Chief executives (CEO), senior executives (SES), and equivalent officers

  1. Complete the CEO and SES separation checklist (DOCX, 41 KB) .
  2. Sign the checklist. Certify you understand your obligations under the Public Service Act 2008, the Code of Conduct, and the Lobbyists Code of Conduct.
  3. Return the checklist to your HR team.

All other government employees

  1. Speak to your supervisor or contact your HR team to find out how your agency completes this process.
  2. Complete your agency’s separation checklist if appropriate. See your intranet or speak to your HR team for a copy of your agency’s version. An example checklist from the Public Service Commission (PDF, 839 KB) can be used as a guide.
  3. Return the checklist to your HR team.

You must continue to act in the public interest as set out in the Code of Conduct in the time before you leave the Queensland Government (e.g. while you’re completing a recruitment process), and after you have left.

Consider your separation risks

There are three types of risks that you may be exposed to during pre- and post-separation:

  • undue influence (e.g. using your contacts within your agency to seek advantage for your new employer)
  • conflict of interest (e.g. using your position to influence decisions and advice in favour of your new employer)
  • information security (e.g. revealing confidential or sensitive information to your new employer or providing information that gives your new employer an advantage in dealing with agencies or a competitive advantage in the market.

Consider your limitations

There may be limitations on your future interactions with Queensland Government agencies if your new role or employer:

  • operates in a related field of business or activity to your current or previous agencies
  • receives contracts, funding, loans, guarantees or capital assistance from or through your current agency (or brokers any such funding to a wider market)
  • operates in commercial competition with your agency
  • comes under the licensing, regulatory or auditing authority of your agency (or has that authority over your agency)
  • deals with the agency in any other way
  • engages in lobbying Ministers, Members of Parliament, or any Queensland Government agency.

Your former colleagues will continue to be bound by the Code of Conduct and they must ensure any future interactions with you adhere to the code and protect the public interest.

Steps to manage your risks and limitations

You must ensure your choices and actions are always in the public interest.

Inform your prospective employer about the limitations and information security restrictions your current role places on you in any future employment.

Inform your agency in writing of your intention to accept a new role outside the Queensland Government. They’ll assess and help you address any separation risks.

Undue influence

You must continue to:

  • make ethical decisions
  • use your official powers or position properly
  • provide objective, independent, apolitical and impartial advice
  • report suspected wrongdoing, including conduct not consistent with any aspect of the Code of Conduct.

Conflict of interest

You must declare and manage any actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Depending on the level of separation risk and the nature of your role and responsibilities, your agency may have to:

  • re-allocate duties
  • exclude you from certain decision-making processes
  • place restrictions on the flow of information to you, including supervised access to files and systems to deal with personal information
  • review or audit what access you have, or have had, to specific information with relevance to your future employment
  • temporarily move you to a different work area or discuss the option to take leave until your new appointment commences.

Information security

When leaving the Queensland Government, you must not:

  • take hard copy documents
  • email electronic files to yourself or others
  • download electronic materials to memory devices
  • retain remote access to the computer network after separation
  • use confidential or privileged information to further personal interests.

To protect the public interest, a quarantine period applies post-separation for Queensland Government employees engaging with certain former colleagues in a lobbying capacity. There is also a quarantine period for senior government officers conducting business meetings with former colleagues.

Lobbying is any attempt to influence the decision-making of a government or opposition representative in the exercise of their official functions on behalf of a third party, for a fee or other reward. See the Queensland Integrity Commissioner website for more.

A business meeting is different to lobbying. It has a commercial focus, convened to discuss matters with a profit-motive in mind.

Read the Post separation employment provisions policy to find out the limitations that apply to lobbying and business meetings for government employees.

What’s permitted

You can:

  • undertake lobbying activity for a third party on matters which you had no official dealings within the last 2 years of employment
  • undertake business meetings with a Queensland Government representative on any matter which you did not have official dealings within the last 18 months of employment
  • disclose information which does not amount to confidential information.

What’s not permitted

You cannot:

  • undertake lobbying activity for a third-party in the 2 years following your employment on matters which you had official dealings
  • undertake business meetings in the 18 months following your employment with a Queensland Government representative on any matter which you had official dealings within the last 18 months of employment
  • disclose confidential information.

Official dealings

Official dealings include specific policies, procedures, transactions, negotiations or cases in which you previously acted for, or provided advice to, the government (either through the CEO or the Minister).

Official dealings does not include viewing documents (such as Cabinet submissions and decisions). However, confidentiality would still apply.

Minimise your risk

Former government employees

Pre-separation:

  • list all agencies and government representatives (including ministerial staff) that you have had official dealings with in the 2 years period
  • declare your post-separation obligations and limitations with prospective employers.

Post-separation:

  • prepare an agenda prior to any meetings with government representatives that ensures you’ll avoid any potential breaches
  • absent yourself from meetings and matters where potential breaches may occur
  • seek relevant advice and err on the side of caution if there is any uncertainty regarding potential breaches.

Current government employees

If you’re meeting with a former government employee:

  • determine whether the meeting is permissible or whether it is a prohibited lobbying or business meeting
  • check the Lobbyists Register to confirm the status of the person seeking the meeting
  • check your agency's ‘contact with lobbyists’ register
  • take a file note as a record of the meeting.

Why this is important

If you do not adhere to these limitations, you risk undermining public confidence in the integrity and reputation of the Queensland Government, the professional reputation of those you meet with, and your own professional reputation.

General advice and assistance

  • Employees: speak to your supervisor or HR team
  • HR specialists: contact PSC advisory service

Confidential advice on ethics and integrity

Contact the Queensland Integrity Commissioner if you need confidential advice on ethics and integrity and you’re:

  • a member of the Legislative Assembly
  • a statutory office holder
  • a chief executive of a government agency or a public sector office
  • a senior executive officer or senior officer
  • a chief executive of, or a senior officer equivalent employed in a government entity, who is nominated by the minister responsible for administering the entity
  • a ministerial staff member who gives, or a person engaged to give, advice to a minister
  • an assistant minister staff member who gives, or a person engaged to give, advice to an Assistant Minister
  • a person, or a class of person nominated by a minister or assistant minister—including all Queensland mayors and councillors.