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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    1

    Default Redeployment for 5 years - Request to be retrenched about to be rejected

    Hi all.

    I work in a government department in Victoria.

    My circumstances:
    • I was made redundant in April of 2014, and have undertaken 7 fixed term secondments over the last 5 years in different roles.
    • My current secondment finishes in June 30th 2019.
    • On June 2018 (nearly 1 year ago), I was moved to an "Unassigned Employee" position - which is a position for employees who voluntarily relinquish their substantive position after serving more than 12 months of fixed term secondments.
    • I was made aware of my "Unassigned Employee" position in January this year when I enquired about my.
    • Regarding the "Unassigned Employee" change: I wasn't consulted, I don't even know what substantive position I relinquished is, and obviously this position change was involuntary.
    • Further more, in March 2019 (1 month ago), the government announced it was closing the agency. The current Enterprise Agreement, due to expire in December of this year (2019), will not be renegotiated. A transition of employees to the new department is now underway, and both departments have articulated that no separation packages will be offered from either departments.


    My request:
    There is a clause in the current enterprise agreement that states that an employee who has not been redeployed to an on going role can request the organisation retrench them. I requested the organisation retrench me earlier this month (April) upon news of my department closure and imminent transition of employees to the other department.

    Intention to reject:
    The HR department has done everything to persuade me against pursuing my request. It has advised that I am ineligible for a redundancy because I am an "Unassigned Employee" and voluntarily relinquished my substantive position - which I don't agree with. And HR has indicated it sees no reason to process my request until June 30th because I still have work to perform. After pressing that I deserve to have a formal response to my request, I have a meeting scheduled on Monday 29th April and HR have indicated they intend to reject my request.

    What do I do:
    My greatest fear is that time is against me - that I will be transitioned to a new department soon - a department which has a different Enterprise Agreement from my current employer, and I fear my redundancy rights will become unclear through the transition. I sense that HR is stalling towards this outcome. There are also others who are in a similar redundancy position and I have heard they have been stalled as well, but I have only been in contact with one of them. I am prepared to seek consultation with the Union, who have been surprisingly quiet lately. I'm also planning to seek legal advice - which obviously costs money. And I don't want to spend money unless I have a high probability of succeeding.

    Any insights for me are deeply welcome.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    54

    Default

    Hi crna,

    I've just come across your post today. I realise that you posted it more than two months ago, and your situation may have changed in the meantime, but here goes anyway.

    It does seem a little odd that you were declared redundant 5 years ago and have been undertaking fixed term secondments for so long. Odd, but not unbelievable in a large bureaucracy. And I suspect that your HR department probably should have informed you (at least as a courtesy) that you were moved to an Unassigned Employee role - but again, it's not really surprising that this is your status if your last substantive role was 5 years ago.

    What I'm going to point out to you is that Redundancy is a tool in the employer's toolbox that can be used to manage (or say goodbye to) employees whose services cannot be used. One of the advantages of being a large employer (like the Victorian Public Service) is that roles become vacant, or new jobs are created, on a frequent basis thereby creating opportunities for deployment or redeployment. As evidence, despite being "made redundant" in April 2014, your employer has been able to deploy you to a succession of roles over the last 5 years. The indications are, based on your post, your employer appears to have a further role in mind for you, albeit likely in a new department.

    While your enterprise agreement allows you, as an employee, to request retrenchment I would be very surprised if the agreement intends that every request should result in an automatic termination of employment. The Department, and the Public Service as a whole, will have an obligation to provide employment to its continuing employees as the first option, not provide the perceived benefit of retrenchment.

    In the same way that the redundancy process is a tool that's available to employers, resignation is an option that's available to employees. If you're unsuccessful in getting the redundancy that you seek, and if you really, really don't want to transfer to the new employer, you have the option to resign from the employer.

    Otherwise, continue to enjoy the thrills and spills of working for a large employer, with all of its benefits and flaws.

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