Voluntary severance

​A registrable employee (employee who is surplus to the requirements of their agency or whose job has been abolished) who is unable to be transferred internally within their organisation, may be  offered voluntary severance or registered by their employing authority for redeployment

Offers of voluntary severance should not be made where a reasonable likelihood of the employee being found alternative employment elsewhere in the public sector exists or where the employee is engaged in an occupational group for which employment shortages or demands exist in the Public Sector at their current regional location (including the metropolitan area). 

Legislation and policy framework 

Voluntary severance applications in the Western Australian Public Sector are covered by the Public Sector Management (Redeployment and Redundancy) Regulations 2014 made under the Public Sector Management Act 1994 The legislation is supported by Commissioner’s Instruction 12 - Redeployment and Redundancy which sets out further requirements of a procedural nature.

The Redeployment and redundancy guidelines provides a non-prescriptive resource to assist the practical application of the redeployment and redundancy framework, including voluntary severance arrangements. 

Voluntary severance - Key features

Public Sector employing authorities have the sole discretion to offer voluntary severance. Voluntary severance is only available to a registrable employee whose public sector employment prospects are assessed as being limited. 

There are not obligations on an employing authority to offer voluntary severance or on a registrable employee to accept an offer.

Voluntary severance may be offered to both permanent employees and employees employed on a fixed term contract. Voluntary Severance is not available to an employee once they are registered for redeployment. 

Voluntary severance should not be made as a means of primarily addressing disciplinary, substandard performance or ill-health issues, for which appropriate mechanisms exist elsewhere.

The standard severance payment is three 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. 

A re-employment restriction period applies to employees who accept voluntary severance—equal to the total of the number of weeks of their severance payment.

Process considerations 

Chief Executive Officers are responsible for assessing the appropriateness of voluntary severance offers. Decisions are likely to take into account agency operations, priorities, service delivery and  ongoing staffing needs, and individual employee skill sets and abilities to meet those needs. The use of an internal individual supporting voluntary severance business case may assist this process. 

An employee who seeks but is not offered voluntary severance, must be advised of the reasons in writing. 

Offers of voluntary severance need to be provided in writing and specify a period of not less than 8 weeks after the offer is made within which the employee must accept or refuse the offer.  

Registrable employees who accept an offer of voluntary severance will be required to formally advise of their acceptance and resign no later than 4 weeks from the date of acceptance. 

Employees who leave within the 4 week period may also be entitled to the payment of an incentive payment of up to 12 weeks’ pay.

Sample offer of voluntary severance and a sample confirming letter of severance are available for download.

Recruitment Advertising Management System (RAMS)

Employing Authorities must advise the Public Sector Commission of all severance offers made and relevant details including severance payment details. 

The Recruitment Advertising Management System (RAMS) database provides for the electronic recording of all severance activity and payments for reporting purposes.

Taxation arrangements  

Registrable employees should be encouraged to obtain their own advice direct from the Australian Tax Office on any taxation enquiries concerning their personal circumstances.

Superannuation considerations

Individual employees should also be encouraged to contact the GESB or their individual superannuation provider to obtain current and relevant superannuation advice concerning superannuation matters.

Support and enquiries

Staff within the Public Sector Commission’s Workforce Performance Directorate are available to assist agencies in providing advice and support on matters relating to  redeployment and redundancy legislation, policy and practices.  

For more information, please phone the Workforce Performance Directorate on (08) 6552 8600 or email agencysupport@psc.wa.gov.au

Relevant documents

Page last updated 1 November 2016