Employment Matters Working Party clarifies the protections under the Act

The Employment Matters Working Party, comprising the DPC, OLG, LGNSW, USU, LGEA and depa, meets every fortnight to allow the Government to consult with those with the expertise in employment in local government, and to inform the Government using that collective expertise developed over more than two decades of cooperative employment relationships.

The OLG provides weekly FAQs to new councils through the Stronger Council’s website. There were plenty of bizarre anti-employee interpretations of the employment protections under the Act (yes, many of you lot in HR) and the FAQs have now included clarification and certainty with the agreed consensus wording:

Do the employment protections prescribed under the Local Government Act 1993 for staff affected by mergers apply to individuals or the positions they hold?

An Employment Matters Reference Group has been established to advise the Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government on matters impacting on the statutory and policy framework governing employment by councils, including any issues arising from merger implementation. Membership of the group includes Local Government NSW, the United Services Union, the Local Government Engineers Association of NSW and the Development and Environmental Professionals’ Association.   Advice by the Group is provided to the Chief Executive with the consensus of all members of the Group.

The consensus view of the Group is that the protections conferred on staff of councils affected by mergers or boundary alterations under the Local Government Act 1993 apply to individual staff members and not to the position they hold. This means that irrespective of the position they hold at the time of a merger or boundary alteration or subsequently hold in a new council, non-senior staff:

  • cannot be made redundant without their agreement as a result of the transfer for three years following the merger or boundary alteration  
  • must continue to be employed under the same terms and conditions unless they voluntarily consent to the alteration of their terms and conditions  
  • cannot be transferred to a work base outside the former council’s local government area unless:
    • they give their written consent to the transfer, or  
    • the transfer would not cause them to suffer unreasonable hardship because of the distance they would be required to travel to their new work base.

See how much progress is made when the dilettantes and dabblers at LGPA recognise that they’re not experts in industrial matters and leave it those who are?

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