Public servants back standard pay scales for APS

Public servants want to see pay scales, workplace flexibility and leave entitlements standardised across the commonwealth public sector, a survey has revealed.

The Australian Public Service Commission sought views from employees on the workplace terms and conditions that matter most to them as the commission moves to introduce collective bargaining.

In a significant shift for the APS, collective bargaining will allow employees to negotiate common workplace terms and conditions at a service-wide level.

As part of the consultation process, the APSC asked employees about the conditions that mattered most to them, and which ones should be standard across the sector.

The survey was conducted between January 25 and February 3, and responses were received from about a third of public sector employees.

Source: APSC Bargaining Staff Survey 2023

When asked which employment conditions mattered most, 19 per cent said pay and pay scales, 17 per cent said flexibility and 13 per cent nominated leave entitlements.

Ten per cent  listed flex time. Superannuation and career progression were nominated by eight per cent. Among executive level staff, eight per cent valued a Christmas shutdown.

Across all classifications, pay and pay scales and workplace flexibility were the conditions which mattered most to survey participants. APS1s reported hours for work as the third most important condition, with all other classifications choosing leave entitlements. 

Source: APSC Bargaining Staff Survey 2023

Sixteen per cent of respondents backed standardising pay and pay scales, 15 per cent wanted standard leave entitlements and 15 per cent said workplace flexibility should be standardised.

Across all classifications, pay and pay scales, workplace flexibility and leave entitlements were the conditions the highest proportion of survey participants thought should be standard. EL1 and EL2 staff indicated leave entitlements were the most important condition to standardise, whereas for APS level classifications it was pay and pay scales.

A survey by the public sector union the CPSU in late 2022 found strong support for centralised bargaining, with 84 per cent of members saying they supported genuine negotiations  at the service-wide level.

Previously, governments have imposed pay caps on agencies and employees, leaving scant wriggle room for negotiation.

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