Government policy is that redeployment is the priority for management of surplus staff, and voluntary severance is only offered in circumstances where justified by a strong business case.
This page outlines the key features and process requirements for voluntary severance applications. For more information, see the Redeployment and Redundancy Policy Manual or the voluntary severance information for employees page.
Key features of voluntary severance
Voluntary severance applies to any permanent Western Australian public sector employee who:
- holds a position that is abolished or soon to be abolished
- holds a position identified as surplus
- cannot be found suitable employment.
The standard severance payment is 3 weeks pay for each complete year of service to a maximum of 52 weeks. Employees who have completed more than 1 but less than 2 years of continuous service are entitled to a severance payment equal to 4 weeks’ pay.
The Regulations also make provision for up to 12 weeks’ payment in lieu of notice of redundancy in circumstances where an employee is to become surplus to requirements and where sufficient notice is not given.
There are re-employment restrictions on employees who accept voluntary severance—equal to the total of the number of weeks of their severance and leave payments.
The Public Sector Management Act 1994 and Public Sector Management (Redeployment and Redundancy) Regulations 1994 provide the legislative framework for redeployment and voluntary severance applications in the Western Australian public sector. This legislation applies to all WA public sector employees other than a relatively small group for whom redeployment and redundancy provisions are covered in federal awards or industrial instruments.
The voluntary severance process
Stage 1: Initial assessment
Chief Executive Officers are responsible for initially assessing the appropriateness voluntary severance offers and for managing the voluntary severance application process. Initial assessments need to ensure workforce planning implications for agency operations are considered.
The Regulations require employers to obtain the approval of PSC before making an offers of voluntary severance, and to meet reporting requirements.
Policy applications require a business case to be provided in support of all requests for voluntary severance. This needs to provide information to justify offering voluntary severance, including an analysis of financial costs and benefits and an assessment of the employee’s current and future redeployment prospects. An example of a Voluntary Severance Application Supporting Business Case is available for download.
Stage 2: The PSC considers the application
Voluntary severance offers are not automatically approved, and under no circumstances should the approval process be pre-empted by advising employees that their severance request has been approved by the agency subject to endorsement by the Public Sector Commission. Sufficient time needs to be allowed for severance approval processes to be completed.
Stage 3: Offer of severance
Once approved, and to give effect to voluntary severance, the regulations require employers to provide an offer of voluntary severance. The offer needs to specify the day on which the employee accepting the offer is to resign and employees accepting voluntary severance are required to do so in writing. Employees accepting voluntary severance are required to sign a letter of severance to affirm their understanding and acceptance of the terms of their voluntary severance.
Stage 4: Reporting
Agencies must forward severance payment information to the Public Sector Commission's Agency Support Division, including details on the employee's employment cessation date and the amount of the severance payment. Agencies are also required to notify Centrelink of the names of employees who accept voluntary severance.
An online Recruitment Advertising Management System database (RAMS) is used to submit all requests for approval to offer voluntary severance and to electronically report on severance activity.
For more information, please phone the Agency Support Division on (08) 6552 8600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sample voluntary severance business case
- Sample offer of voluntary severance
- Sample letter of voluntary severance
- Circular to Department and Authorities No 7 of 1992 – Workers’ Compensation claims - effect on employees seeking voluntary severance
Page last updated 21 September 2012