Enterprise Bargaining Update No.3 - Assistants to Members of Parliament

17 February 2016

The last EB meeting was held on 4 February 2016.

Unions' EA claim
The PSA and ASU, representing union members, tabled a joint claim, on a without prejudice basis.

This claim included:

  • An agreement with salary increases of:
  • 3% effective 1 October 2015 (backdated)
  • 3% effective 1 October 2016
  • 3% effective 1 October 2017

 

(The last pay rise under the Assistants to the Members of the South Australian Parliament Enterprise Agreement 2013 was 3% on 1 October 2014.)


  • An increase to the termination payment in lieu of notice when the Assistant's Member of Parliament loses an election or resigns their position. The Stillwell Report recommended an additional termination payment of two weeks per additional year of service after the eighth year of employment up to 28 weeks payment total.

 

  • The PSA had also claimed an increase in the employer superannuation payment from 9.5% to 15% in a earlier letter. This claim is for consistency with Electoral Assistants to federal parliamentarians, and to take into account the variable nature of employment.

 

Government Policy – Salary Increases
The government representative advised that salary increases are to be capped at 2.5% per annum consistent with government policy as stated by the Treasurer in his budget speeches. This advice was in response to the Public Service Association's (PSA's) written request.

It is expected that the government's pay offer will be consistent with enterprise agreements for other government sector workers, eg the South Australian Public Sector Wages Parity Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2014. In that agreement there are three annual pay increases of 2.5% in October 2014, October 2015, and October 2016.

The government representative stressed that any additional monetary claims would have to be funded out of the pool of money that would be allocated for 2.5% annual wage increases.

Implementation of parts of the Stillwell Report
This report has been sent to all members.

The PSA has not agreed to or endorsed the entirety of the recommendations of the Stillwell Report.

The PSA supports Recommendation 2, being an additional pay point for Assistants undertaking the duties of an Office Manager. The PSA supports further pay points to recognise additional requirements by their MP, relevant qualifications, and prior experience.

Policy Clarification
The PSA has also sought clarification and improvement to current policies. These may or may not be included in the new EA but will still apply. In particular, the PSA has sought the following:

1. Maintain service credits for up to 12 months. The current policy is that if an Assistant loses their position due to an election then for the next 12 months they are eligible to apply for positions within the Public Sector, including as Assistants to MPs, through Jobs SA (formerly the Notice of Vacancies) - i.e. for vacancies advertised internally and not normally available to outside applicants. The PSA seeks an assurance that for up to 12 months the employee will be able to transfer their previous accrued credits for sick leave and long service leave if they gain employment in the public sector.

2. The Personal Assistants to the Members of the Parliament of South Australia 1989 Award allows for study leave of up to five hours per week. The PSA seeks an assurance that this entitlement will still apply, including for external study.

3. The current EA provides for travel allowances based on kilometres travelled if the MP requires their Assistant to travel for business purposes. The PSA wants these allowances to continue, but to include a statement that an MP cannot require their Assistant to use their private motor vehicle for business purposes.

4. Where an Assistant is required to travel away from their home, then meal allowances as per Commissioner for Public Employment Determination 3.2 must apply.

5. If an Assistant is required to be accommodated overnight then accommodation reimbursement as per the Commissioner for Public Employment Determination 3.2 should apply. The PSA seeks that the principle that no employee should be out of pocket for expenses incurred for their employer be agreed by all parties to the enterprise agreement.

6. The PSA has requested that if an MP selects an assistant who is already a permanent SA Public Sector worker then that employee should maintain their permanency within the Public Sector - i.e. retain the right of return. The changes to the Public Sector Act 2009 where it states that an employee is appointed to a level rather than a position should facilitate this policy.

For any questions or comments please contact the PSA.