Fixed term temporary and casual employment FAQs

1. An employee has been engaged in a combination of regular and systematic casual employment and as a fixed term temporary employee. Which directive should we apply when undertaking a review?

The employment status of an employee at the time they request a review under section 149 of the Public Service Act 2008 (PS Act), or is entitled to an employer initiated review (i.e. at their 2 year anniversary and annually thereafter) under section 149B of the PS Act, will determine which directive will apply. 

For example, if the employee is on a fixed term temporary engagement at the time they become eligible for review, the fixed term temporary employment directive applies when considering their conversion, including if the employee reverts to casual employment during the review period. As the considerations for conversion are the same for casual and fixed term temporary employees, this is only likely to affect the permanent hours that may be offered to the employee as provided for in the casual employment directive, when the review decision is made.

2. What priority should be given to the different conversion reviews when they are undertaken at the same time? Can we use a closed merit process in these circumstances?

There is no specified priority for considering reviews for multiple fixed term temporary or casual employees and/or requests for appointment to a higher classification level. Each review must be considered individually and in accordance with the criteria and timeframes that apply under the relevant directive and provisions of the PS Act.

The directives do not allow for an agency to use a closed merit process where there are multiple employees eligible for review.

It is important to note that conversion of a fixed term temporary or casual employee to permanent employment is not dependent on the existence of a substantive vacancy.

3. I have an employee who is in Australia on a temporary work visa. Are they eligible for permanent appointment following a review in accordance with the Fixed term temporary employment directive 09/20?

An employee must meet the citizenship requirements under section 127(1) of the PS Act to be eligible to be converted from fixed term temporary or casual employment to permanent employment as a public service officer under the PS Act and directive.

Agencies will need to seek their own advice about whether or not a particular type of temporary visa meets the requirements under section 127(1)(b) (i.e. a person who resides in Australia and has permission, under a Commonwealth law, to work in Australia).

4. Can a fixed term temporary employee engaged at the Senior Officer level apply to be appointed to that higher classification level?

No. Sections 149 and 149B of the PS Act state that they do not apply to an employee who is seconded to or acting in a position that is ordinarily held by a non-industrial instrument employee.

Senior officers (SO), are non-industrial instrument employees. This means that a public service employee who is temporarily engaged in a position that is ordinarily held by a SO, is not eligible to be converted to permanent employment under sections 149A or 149B of the PS Act or directive.