The JSE COVID-19 Mobilisation Guidelines (the Guidelines) outline the JSE’s approach to utilising the existing skills and capabilities of the Victorian Public Sector to meet urgent and emerging workforce needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This document contains the following information:
- Industrial Relations Framework for Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Providing meaningful work to meet workforce needs
- Identifying workforce needs
- Creating a Mobility List
- Mobilising the workforce
- Exceptions and conditions
- Privacy considerations
- Communicating the Guidelines
The Guidelines will be subject to review in September 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event requiring a dynamic response by the Victorian Public Sector about how, when and where work is performed, and by whom. The pandemic creates dual imperatives of maintaining Victorian Public Sector employment to the greatest extent possible and rapidly filling emerging surge workforce needs.
Industrial Relations Framework for Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic
Effective 7 May 2020, the Guidelines give life to the principles outlined in the Industrial Relations Framework for Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic (the IR Framework).
The Framework sets out the approach of the Victorian Government to managing industrial relations considerations in the Victorian Public Sector, including the Victorian Public Service (VPS), associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Guidelines should be read in conjunction with the IR Framework.
The IR Framework was informed by the broad principles of protecting Victorian Public Sector jobs, serving the community (in responding to the challenges of COVID-19), taking employees’ interests into account, consultation and collaboration.
The IR Framework provides guidance on:
- Employee salary maintenance and financial support
- Certain VPS fixed term contract extensions
- Deployment model (including employee wages and conditions)
- Occupational Health and Safety.
One of the key purposes of the IR Framework is to facilitate the rapid deployment of Victorian Public Sector (including VPS) employees towards participation in duties required to be completed to manage the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 response, including in relation to the provision of additional capacity to perform critical, essential, support and other consequential functions such as backfilling (Surge Functions)’.
The IR Framework provides that where employees are deployed into Surge Functions, the standard assignment model will be a short-term secondment arrangement of no more than six months’ duration, where the employee remains employed by their current employer. Employees will continue to be paid at their existing remuneration level by their employer, unless the nature of the duties being performed requires additional payments to be made under the enterprise agreement applicable to the employee and the employer.
The IR Framework came into effect on 6 May 2020.
Providing meaningful work to meet workforce needs
Identifying workforce needs
Each department has identified its own Mobility Officer, who collates requests from their department and portfolio entities (including any mandatory duty requirements, e.g. security clearance) relating to Surge Functions.
The duties identified by employers and provided to Mobility Officers must have a duration of 6 months or less, with capacity for extension if required.
Usual recruitment processes apply to duties longer than 6 months in duration and/or those unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic surge functions (per the IR Framework).
The information collected by Mobility Officers in response to the IR Framework will be collated into a single database of urgent and emerging workforce needs across the Victorian Public Sector.
Creating a Mobility List
Mobility Officers will seek to fill the demand for Victorian Public Sector (including the VPS) workers by drawing on latent capacity within the sector.
Mobility Officers and their People and Culture teams will establish and regularly update Mobility Lists of participating employees from within their departments and portfolio entities that can include:
- ongoing and fixed-term employees receiving salary maintenance
- casual employees receiving financial support
- VPS fixed term employees (other than DJCS and DHHS) whose employer has nominated them to be a mobility employee
- other casual employees seeking work
- volunteer employees and employees with latent capacity or necessary skills, training or qualifications necessary for surge functions.
The placement of an employee on the JSE Mobility List by a Mobility Officer signals that the employer is willing to release that employee for another duty for the period of estimated availability. Where required, Mobility Officers or their People and Culture mobility contacts will consult managers when adding employees to Mobility Lists (e.g. to confirm the availability of employees to be released).
Employees on the JSE Mobility List may be asked to complete a Mobility Form outlining experiences, skills and contact details, and any other relevant factors (e.g. healthcare needs).
Mobilising the workforce
Employees on the JSE Mobility List will be assigned or temporarily transferred to duties (potentially in another public service body or in a public entity) that best align with their skills and capabilities.
Participating casuals who are not eligible to receive financial support will be prioritised for deployment to certain funded public sector roles available for 48 hours before they are made available to registrants on Working for Victoria.
Employees found suitable to perform a duty will be notified of the match and given 24 hours to express their interest.
In instances where multiple employees on the JSE Mobility List are considered suitable to fulfil a duty express interest in doing so, the individual objectively assessed as most suitable will be offered the first opportunity to be assigned that duty.
In most instances it is anticipated that deployment will be on a secondment basis with no change in the substantive employment relationship.
Employers should consult the IR Framework, that sets out processes for possible redeployment for participating casual, ongoing and fixed term employees who are affected because functions/services have been reduced or businesses closed due to COVID-19.
If the duty is not assigned voluntarily, an employee on the JSE Mobility List who was found suitable to be assigned the duty may be directed or transferred to those duties by their employer where provided for in the IR Framework.
To ensure suitability of mobilisation, employees on the JSE Mobility List will be asked to identify any necessary workplace adjustments required to support them in a new duty, and any personal circumstances that make them unsuitable for certain work (e.g. in healthcare settings), to ensure they are mobilised appropriately. Likewise, employers seeking to assign duties to employees on the Mobility List will be required to identify duty requirements such as location, duties and any special circumstances.
Where duties cannot be filled rapidly (i.e. within 48 hours) by existing Victorian Public Sector staff, roles can be created and advertised immediately to the broader economy on Working for Victoria (WfV) and other platforms.
Exceptions and conditions
Available Surge Function duties will be offered as a priority to Victorian Public Sector (including the VPS) employees. In exceptional circumstances (related to the nature, number, location or urgency of the duties) a Secretary/Deputy Secretary (or equivalent) may approve immediate advertising on Working for Victoria and/or other external platforms.
Standard exceptions to the JSE Recruitment Policy apply for duties that require specialised skills unlikely to be found in the Victorian Public Sector or roles subject to Section 12 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.
It is not mandatory for departments or entities to draw from the JSE Mobility List if duties can be assigned through internal movement or usual job advertisements.
Information provided by Mobility Officers and employees will be managed confidentially and used only to fulfil the intended mobility functions.
All personal and sensitive information will be handled in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic).
The ability to view individual information is limited to the employee, their existing employer, departmental mobility officers and their human resources colleagues, hiring managers, and the JSE.
Communicating the Guidelines
Departments are responsible for communicating the Guidelines to their employees during its implementation.
Departments are also responsible (should they choose to) for communicating the Guidelines to their portfolio entities who are employers under the Public Administration Act 2004.
IRV will support all public sector (including service) employers and HR practitioners on the IR Framework. Employers and HR practitioners can contact IRV at email@example.com.
The JSE will support departments by providing materials such as FAQs for their use and use by their portfolio entities on www.vic.gov.au
Employees can contact the JSE at firstname.lastname@example.org for queries about mobility and their People and Culture (HR) teams for human resources queries.
You can download a PDF of these guidelines via the link below: