Types of workplace decisions we can help with
If you are an APS or Parliamentary Service employee, we can assist you by conducting an independent review of a workplace action or decision that you think isn't fair, or isn't correct.
How we can help
If a decision has been made, or an action has been taken, that affects you in the workplace, you can apply to the Merit Protection Commissioner for us to have a fresh look at the issue, we call this a review. Our review will consider whether you have been fairly dealt with, and we will consider whether the action or decision was the right one in the circumstances. At the end of our review, we will make a formal recommendation to your agency or department to:
- confirm the decision, if we agree it is the right one in the circumstances
- vary or set it aside, if we don't think it was the correct or preferable decision.
Review of performance decisions
Review of performance decisions
If you’re an APS or Parliamentary Service employee, and have been through a performance process that you think is wrong, unfair, or unreasonable...
…you have the right to review performance management decisions that affect you- by the Merit Protection Commissioner.
We review things like:
- a poor or unsatisfactory performance rating
- a decision to implement a performance improvement plan or a ‘managing underperformance process’
- any action taken as a result of an unsatisfactory performance management process (excluding a decision to terminate your employment)
You will need to seek a review with your agency first to resolve the issue.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you have 60 days to tell your agency that you would like a secondary review by the MPC, and they must send your matter to us. Your agency will provide us with the information relevant to the decision.
We will conduct a full merits review, and may look at:
- your point of view
- your manager’s point of view
- your job description
- performance expectations
- work samples
- whether performance discussions have taken place between you and your manager
- and if you were provided with constructive feedback so that you were not surprised by the decision.
We then notify you, and your agency- our recommendation to ‘uphold’ their decision as fair, or whether we have found the decision to be unfair, and should be ‘varied’ or ‘set aside’.
The agency should then reconsider their decision or make a different decision.
In addition to performance management decisions, the MPC can also review other workplace decisions that affect you for free, and independently.
Find out more on our website, or contact one of our team members.
[MPC contact details appear: mpc.gov.au, (02) 8239 5330, firstname.lastname@example.org]
The Merit Protection Commissioner: supporting integrity and accountability in the public and Parliamentary Service
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Who we can help
If you are an APS or Parliamentary Service employee, we can help you with a range of issues that may affect you in the workplace.
- You had a performance review and feel your manager made the wrong assessment of your performance.
- You lodged a complaint about bullying or harassment in the workplace, and feel your agency didn't handle your complaint fairly.
- Your manager may have denied your request for a flexible work arrangement, however you think your proposal was a reasonable one.
Review of breach and sanction decisions
Review of code matters
Are you an APS or Parliamentary Service employee who is subject to a Code of Conduct process?
Are you worried that a decision is wrong, unfair or unreasonable?
If so, you are able to seek review by the Merit Protection Commissioner.
The MPC can review any finding that you have breached the Code of Conduct or a decision to impose a sanction of a
reduction in classification, reassignment of duties, reduction in salary, deduction from salary by way of fine, reprimand.
The MPC cannot review a decision to terminate your employment.
For that, you need to apply to the Fair Work Commission.
There are many reasons why an agency will investigate an employee.
Common allegations are that an employee has made an unauthorised access of client databases,
not recorded their attendance correctly, bullied or harassed another person,
failed to follow directions or agency procedures, failed to perform their duties with care and diligence.
For a breach or sanction decision, you can make an application directly to the MPC
for a first and final review without going through your agency. Time limits apply.
The breach and sanction are two separate decisions.
So don't wait until the sanction decision is made to apply for a review of the breach decision.
You have 60 days from each decision to apply to us for review.
When we review a breach decision, we look first at the process, for example
were your agency's procedures followed and were you given procedural fairness?
We then consider the evidence the agency has gathered in its investigation and whether you actually did what was alleged.
Finally, we decide whether your actions were a breach of the Code of Conduct.
When it comes to reviewing a sanction decision, we consider whether the sanction imposed on you is fair and proportionate.
Once we have completed our review, we will notify you and your agency of our recommendation
to either uphold the breach finding, or sanction decision, or whether it should be varied or set aside.
Other code of conduct related decisions, such as a suspension decision or the decision to start
an investigation, must be reviewed first by your agency.
If you are not happy with your agency's decision, you can then seek a review by the MPC.
In addition to Code of Conduct decisions, the MPC can also review other workplace decisions that affect you.
If you would like more information about your review rights and how to apply, visit our website or contact one of our team members.
The Merit Protection Commissioner. Supporting integrity and accountability in the Public and Parliamentary Service.
If you are an ongoing, non-ongoing or casual employee in the APS or Parliamentary Service, and you are employed at any classification from Executive Level 2 or lower, you can apply to us to have your workplace issue reviewed.
You can also apply to us for review of certain promotion decisions, up to APS or Parliamentary Service classification level 6.
- You are an ongoing APS level 4 employee, and applied for promotion to APS level 5, and you weren't successful in winning the new role.
There are a number of eligibility criteria, including timeframes, which we will explain to you in detail. We will also explain which types of issues we can review directly, or which ones you should seek an internal review with your agency or department in the first instance, before coming to us if you are not satisfied with your agency's review.
Here are some examples of the types of workplace issues we deal with:
We deal with a range of workplace issues (actions or decisions) that may be of concern to public sector employees, including:
- Reviews of certain promotion decisions.
- You can apply for review of promotion decisions up to APS/Parliamentary Service level 6.
- Code of Conduct determinations (including if you are a former employee):
- whether the process was procedurally fair
- whether there is sufficient evidence to determine the conduct occurred
- whether or not that conduct is in breach of the Code of Conduct.
- Sanctions imposed following a Code of Conduct determination, including a:
- reduction in classification
- re‑assignment of duties
- reduction in salary
- deduction from salary, by way of fine
We can't review sanctions of termination of employment. You will need to contact the Fair Work Commission.
- Suspensions from duty, with or without remuneration.
- Denial or revocation of an AGSVA security clearance.
- Performance management actions, including:
- performance ratings, such as end-cycle assessments
- performance improvement plans
- management actions such as performance or behaviour-related directions or counselling
- decisions to not grant you a performance based salary advancement
- decisions to reduce your classification due to underperformance.
- Decisions about leave and entitlements under an Enterprise Agreement or policy, including decisions about:
- leave applications
- study applications
- training requests
- broadband advancement.
- Complaints about the final entitlements you receive when you leave your employment in the APS or Parliamentary Service.
- Any APS or Parliamentary Service employee is eligible to make this type of complaint, including SES employees.
- Flexible work applications, including:
- part time work requests
- variations to work hours and rostering
- reasonable adjustment requests.
- Assignments of duty that involve:
- a relocation to another place
- a reduction in classification
- the assignment of duties that the employee could not reasonably be expected to perform.
- Executive Level promotion processes that contained serious defects in the selection process.
- Actions relating to fitness for duty assessments and return to work.
- Handling of bullying and harassment complaints, including:
- preliminary assessments of workplace complaints or grievances
- the handling of formal workplace investigations,
- management action imposed following a complaint investigation, such as directions, warnings or counselling.
- Australian Federal Police employees who have been retired because of physical or mental incapacity by the Commissioner of Police under subsection 32(1) of the Australian Federal Police Act.
This list is not exhaustive. If you are unsure whether we can review the workplace decision of concern to you, contact our enquiry service on 02 8239 5330 (option 2) or email email@example.com.
Where else could you take your concerns?
If we can't help, you may be able to make an application to the:
- Fair Work Commission
- Fair Work Ombudsman
- Australian Human Rights Commission
- Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court, for judicial review under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977.
You may wish to seek independent legal advice about the best course of action to take in your situation.