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 or without pay. See Section 137 of the Public Service Act 2008 and the Suspension directive.

Chief executives, senior executives or other public service officers

Consider suspension if it will negatively impact your agency 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.

Public service employees

Consider suspension if you’re investigating the employee for a matter where it’s likely you’ll terminate or demote them. For example, if 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.

If it’s unlikely you’ll terminate or demote the employee, or there’s opportunity, consider supervision or alternative duties instead of suspension.

Your decision to suspend with or without pay must be able to withstand scrutiny. An employee can challenge your decision to suspend them 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.

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

Consider suspension without pay if there are:

  • conditions that prevent the employee from performing their normal duties (e.g. suspensions or cancellations of professional registrations or licences)
  • misconduct allegations that could diminish public confidence in the agency if the employee was not suspended without pay
  • criminal charges and the discipline process is pending the outcome of these charges
  • external factors outside the agency's control preventing you from finalising the disciplinary matter for an extended period.