Discipline guideline

14 March 2017-current
Responsible agency:
Public Service Commission


This Guideline is an aid to managing disciplinary processes under the Public Service Act 2008 (PSA), Chapter 6 ('Disciplinary action for public service employees and former public service employees'). This Guideline is to be used as an adjunct to (that is, not instead of) the PSA. Its purpose is to only provide guidance. It does not bind or substitute for decision makers needing to properly exercise their managerial discretion in line with the PSA, in response to the unique set of facts of each actual case.

This Guideline highlights that a disciplinary process is not a substitute for management action and the need for managers to undertake early intervention to address unacceptable conduct. An early conversation, even in the context of a likely disciplinary process, provides the best hope for:

  • the cessation of unacceptable conduct
  • early resolution
  • preserving working relationships, and
  • avoiding an unnecessary and disproportionately protracted dispute.

This Guideline also recognises that there will be occasions when it will be necessary and appropriate for managers (or other delegate) to commence and complete a disciplinary process, and if circumstances warrant it, the process may result in a decision to dismiss the employee.

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