As we support each other in the recovery phase of COVID-19, it’s important that employees can be easily deployed to services in other agencies that are experiencing an increase in demand for their services and a need for additional resources.
This guidance aims to help the movement of skilled public servants across the State services, support retention of public servants through change, support individual employee development opportunities, and support a stronger, agile and adaptive public service workforce.
Mobility of people may take the form of temporary deployment, whether short- or long-term, or permanent redeployment. The opportunity for long-term deployment or permanent redeployment may enable agencies to limit or avoid the need to make redundancies, and enable retention and development of skilled employees in the public service, while providing much needed staffing to agencies that are recruiting. This may reduce the financial impact as well as the time, resources and human impact of structural change programmes.
This guidance has been prepared with input from agencies and the Public Service Association (PSA).
An employee’s employment terms and conditions with their home agency remain the same while they are temporarily deployed to another agency, recognising that the location and hours of work may change.
The home agency will continue to pay the employee directly during temporary deployments, unless an alternative approach is agreed between the parties.
Longer periods of deployment may justify the home and host agencies to agree alternative approaches (for example, for the host to reimburse the home agency for the cost of the deployed person).
Agencies should take into account the individuals’ circumstances and needs when deciding on deployment. Employees on deployment to another agency are still subject to the State Services Code of Conduct and the relevant codes of conduct and policies of the home and host agencies.
Permanent redeployment may require negotiation of new terms and conditions by the receiving agency where the role requirements are different, while still meeting employment agreement terms.
Key changes at Alert Levels 1 and 2
Deployments may be for short-term support for critical workforces, or for longer term temporary deployments. The need for deployment will not necessarily be a direct result of COVID-related change.
Longer term deployments are likely to require the host agency to bear some or all of the cost of the employee, by agreement between the agencies.
The home and host agencies’ responsibilities for health and safety arrangements, vetting checks, and provision of equipment continue to apply. Individual responsibility for conduct, recording and reporting hours and other processes, respecting privacy and ensuring security of information also continue to apply.
Temporary deployment – fixed period, followed by return to the home agency
Agencies that are able to release employees need to work with their staff and their unions on the work arrangements that will apply to help support other parts of the system, or enable a development opportunity to be progressed.
The general principle for temporary deployment is that an employee’s core terms and conditions with their home agency remain the same, while recognising that the location and hours of work may change. In general, the employee should not be disadvantaged by the deployment. This includes, if possible, being paid for the normal hours for that employee even if deployment is for fewer hours per week.
For longer term temporary deployments agreement will be required around cessation of variable or supplementary payments which are circumstance or event-based such as overtime, shift allowance, unsocial hours payments etc where these are not applicable in the deployment role.
For temporary deployments, the home agency will continue to pay the employee directly. For longer term deployments and those to help staff development, the agencies may agree an alternative approach.
Home agency responsibilities
- The employee’s existing terms and conditions apply.
- Continue to pay the employees involved and provide necessary payroll and leave administration. Extended periods are likely to require the host agency to agree to reimbursement of employee cost.
- Provide the host agency with relevant contact and emergency contact details.
- Agree health and safety arrangements and procedures with the host agency as both will have Persons Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBU) responsibilities for the employees being deployed.
- Provide assurance to the host agency that the employees have relevant police/credit checks where appropriate.
- Agree a plan with the employee and host agency on how performance will be assessed/development progressed during the deployment to prevent disadvantage.
Host agency responsibilities
- Responsible for providing a safe and healthy working environment in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
- Provide clear role responsibilities and accountabilities and role profile for the deployed employee/s.
- Stays in contact with the home agency regarding any health and safety issues.
- Provides equipment, security access and training as required.
- Capture leave and hours worked by deployed employees and notify the home agency to ensure applicable terms and conditions are applied.
- Escalates any employment relations issues to the home agency contact.
- Provide structured support for development if a development deployment.
- Assess performance of the employee in line with agreed approach of home agency.
- Existing employment terms and conditions apply including adherence to the State Services Code of Conduct. Your host agency will notify your home employer if your hours or days of work change.
- Record hours using home agency’s payroll recording mechanisms if required.
- Notify host agency immediately if you feel unwell and report any health and safety incident or concern as per the process agreed between the host and home agencies.
- Respect confidentiality for any personal or sensitive information of both agencies that you may have access to.
- Comply with host agency’s policies.
- Ensure security of information from both the home and the host agency at all times.
- For long-term deployments, continue to take leave during the period of deployment (ie, not to increase leave liability during the deployment).
Note: Where the temporary deployment is longer term (generally expected to be longer than three months’ duration), home and host agencies may wish to modify some of their responsibilities, but must ensure all arrangements are clear for all parties to the deployment.
Permanent redeployment – appointment to a new employer
State services employers may continue recruiting and, in some cases, may even experience a period of growth. Agencies are encouraged to make opportunities visible and available to employees in the sector, through the SSC Workforce Deployment System (see below). Agencies are strongly encouraged to consider people from State services organisations before wider external advertising. This is likely to be a short initial period before proceeding to advertise externally.
Permanent redeployment – terms and conditions of appointment
Where appointments are made through advert/selection/offer and acceptance, the conditions are generally specified in the advert. Permanent redeployment may require negotiation of new terms and conditions by the receiving agency where the role requirements are different, while still meeting employment agreement terms.
Entitlement to redundancy payment
Where a person has been given notice of termination due to redundancy, an entitlement to redundancy payment may be affected by an offer of redeployment. This will depend on the particular terms of the employee’s current employment agreement, the terms and conditions of the new employment and whether the transfer is of an individual or whole function.
Agencies should seek their own legal advice about the application of State Sector Act s61A, which deals with restrictions of redundancy payments in certain situations.
SSC System Workforce Deployment
SSC has established a Workforce Deployment system to support agencies connect role opportunities with available staff resources across the public service. Through the period of adjustment and change ahead our aim is to ensure skilled public servants are retained across the system wherever possible, and both short and long term staffing needs are met as far as possible from within the public service.
Where agencies have recruitment planned or getting underway this should be provided to the SSC deployment support team. Likewise, where agencies have staff resources becoming available this should also be advised to the deployment team. Agencies are already working together to share information and resources and the aim of this support is to help connect agencies around current and anticipated workforce requirements, not to hinder the collaboration already taking place. Affected agencies should nominate an internal point of contact for potential candidates and can contact the SSC System Workforce Deployment team at firstname.lastname@example.org.