You can suspend an employee if it’s unsafe or a risk to the business for them to remain in the workplace while you review concerns about their conduct and performance. You can suspend them with pay or without pay in certain circumstances. See 101 of the Public Sector Act 2022 and the Suspension directive.

Chief executives, senior executives and public sector employees

Consider suspension if it will negatively impact your entity by the employee remaining at work. For example, if the employee’s alleged conduct:

  • raises concerns about work health and safety risks to others
  • raises concerns about their fitness for work
  • creates an unacceptable risk to the business (e.g. risk of interference with a tender process)
  • affects public confidence in the agency.
  • Suspension may be appropriate if the impacts cannot be managed and the employee’s alleged conduct involves physical or sexual conduct or serious verbal abuse towards clients or co-workers
  • involves fraud, serious breach of professional boundaries
  • raises concerns about honesty, judgement, trustworthiness or competency
  • involves tampering with evidence or influencing employees involved in the investigation
  • affects public confidence in the agency.

You must consider other options such as close supervision or alternative duties before considering suspension.

Your decision to suspend with or without pay must be able to withstand scrutiny. An employee can challenge your decision to suspend them with or without pay through an appeal to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

Keep a record of why you made the decision and what you considered when arriving at the decision.

If you decide to suspend an employee with pay, you must nominate a start and end date, and advise the employ that if they undertake any alternative, paid employment while suspended, you’ll deduct that amount from their pay.

If you decide to suspend an employee without pay, you must give the employee a chance to respond to the proposed suspension without pay and consider their response before initiating the suspension. You must also nominate a start and end date if you decide to suspend the employee without pay.

Suspension with pay

Consider suspension with pay where you have:

  • commenced an investigation into serious allegations against the employee
  • received serious allegations of misconduct including sexual harassment, fraud or assault
  • concerns about the safety of the work environment while you address the matter
  • concerns about the employee tampering with evidence relevant to the allegation
  • reasonable belief that the employee's poor behaviour is due to a medical condition
  • reasonable belief that, if proven, the conduct would lead to a serious disciplinary penalty.

Suspension without pay

Suspensions without pay are limited to the following circumstances:

  • External factors outside the agency's control preventing you from finalising the disciplinary matter for an extended period, for example criminal charges and the discipline process is pending the outcome of these charges.
  • Circumstances that would make it fair and reasonable to suspend the employee without pay. This must be considered against the financial impact on the employee and the public interest of an employee remaining on suspension with remuneration.