Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Continuous service means service in the WA "Public Sector"

The Full Bench has upheld an appeal and quashed a decision of the Commission regarding the determination of 'continuous service' for the purpose of severance payments in the public sector.  It was determined that, in order to be entitled to a severance payment under the 'Voluntary Targeted Separation Scheme for Publish Sector Renewal', any continuous service in the public service must occur in Western Australia.

Commissioner Matthews, with whom Commissioner Emmanuel agreed, determined that the term "Public Sector" has the same meaning in the Public Sector Management (Redeployment and Redundancy) Regulations 2014 (the Regulations) as it does in the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (PSM Act) where it means entities within the Western Australian government.  Commissioner Matthews went on to find that service in the Public Sector must be the overriding qualification in determining if an employee has accrued  continuous service under the Regulations.  Once that qualification is met, the Wages Employees Long Service Leave General Order may be referred to in determining what is or is not continuous service.  The respondent's employment in the Tasmanian Public Sector may have been continuous but it was not served in the "Public Sector" and must therefore not count towards any continuous service for the purpose of calculating a severance payment under the Regulations.

Acting President Smith (dissenting) found that the appeal should be dismissed.  Her Honour found that the term "Public Sector" should be defined as it is in the Wages Employees Long Service Leave General Order and that the PSM Act expressly states that regulations are to be made to provide terms and conditions to apply to a registered employee who accepts voluntary severance.

The decision can be read here.

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