The Public Service Arbitrator (Arbitrator) has allowed an application against an employer’s decision not to reclassify an employee’s position from level G5 to Level G6. The Arbitrator found that the change in the nature of the work and increase in skill and responsibility associated with the role, amounted to an increase in work value and warranted reclassification.
The applicant is employed by the Midwest Region of WA Country Health Service (Health Service). The applicant applied to have her position reviewed by the respondent to be reclassified from Level G5 to Level G6, on the basis that the work had become more complex; required more skills and knowledge to perform; and the level of responsibility involved had increased. The respondent denied the applicant’s request for reclassification and the applicant proceeded with an appeal under ss 80F (2) and 80E(2)(a) of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) to review the decision.
The applicant contended that there had been an increase in the work value of the position for the following reasons:
- there had been an increase in FTE positions reporting to the position;
- there had been an increase in staffing management due to staff movements and secondments;
- there had been an increase in liaison regarding service delivery with other managers;
- the position required a higher level of communication, negotiation and liaison with managers;
- there was an increased requirement to develop procedures to reflect constant changes and activity;
- there was an increased need for knowledge of industrial awards and policies;
- more time was spent with staff looking after conflicts and wellbeing;
- there was greater complexity around knowledge and understanding of many departments and services; and
- there were new duties not listed on the 2017 JDF for the role.
The applicant accepted that her workload is a separate issue to increased work value but submitted that the increased workload should not be equated to an absence of an increase in work value. The applicant contended that her evaluation of the role equated to a Business International Position Evaluation Remuneration System (BIPERS) score of 403, placing the position at the bottom end of a Level G8 classification.
The respondent contended that while there had been an increase in workload and work volume for the applicant’s position, that this did not equate to an increase in work value and was not in itself a basis for reclassification.
The respondent submitted that it relied upon a BIPERS assessment completed by SWY Consulting that indicated the applicant had over-evaluated some of the factors in her own assessment and placed the role at the lower end of Level G6. The respondent noted however, that this assessment was indicative and not prescriptive, and asserted that the position remained at the Level G5 classification.
The Arbitrator accepted the applicant’s submission that characterising the changes as an increase in workload only is an over-simplification of the position’s evolution. The Arbitrator accepted that the changes in the nature of the position are such that the broadened duties were of a higher level and involved a sufficient increase in skill and knowledge of individual department operational requirements.
The Arbitrator held that the role now involved a greater degree of contribution to operations management, policies and procedures, and liaison with other managers. This increase in responsibility had increased the work value.
It was accepted by the Arbitrator that the Health Service’s evidence that the applicant had over-evaluated some of the factors in her own assessment of the BIPERS factors. The Arbitrator assessed that the position should be in the vicinity of the highest end of the range for a Level G6.
It was held by the Arbitrator that the reclassification should take effect from the date that the applicant formally notified that the reclassification was sought.
The decision can be read here.