Guidelines for attraction and retention incentives in the WA Public Sector


These Guidelines apply to employing authorities and employees in the Western Australian public sector, excluding Chief Executive Officers, Chief Employees and positions included in the public service whose remuneration is determined through the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal or another mechanism.

The terms "employing authority", "employee" and "public sector" are as defined in the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (the Act).

Proposals for the application of attraction and retention incentives (ARI) under Approved Procedure 7 (AP 7) to the senior executive service (SES) must be submitted to the Public Sector Commission (PSC) and for non-SES employees to the Executive Director, Public Sector Directorate, Department of Commerce (DoC).

Employing authorities are to consult with either the PSC (SES employees) or DoC (non-SES employees), prior to submitting proposals for an ARI under AP 7. Due to the need to consider such requests thoroughly, sufficient time and regard should be given to early consultation.

These Guidelines must be read in conjunction with Approved Procedure 7, established pursuant to the Act, and provide the only basis upon which employing authorities can gain endorsement for and apply an attraction and retention incentive in the public sector.

Proposal for an ARI

Employing authorities seeking endorsement of ARIs must demonstrate to the PSC or DoC:

  • That genuine problems exist in recruiting staff and that priority service delivery is or will be severely affected. This should include an explanation of the expected impact on service delivery and/or statutory or regulatory obligations if positions remain vacant;
  • Workforce management strategies being implemented. This should include any ongoing skills development programs and enhanced recruitment and selection strategies that have been implemented within the agency, including analysis of the outcomes of these strategies;
  • An assessment of high risk occupations, and labour market supply and demand issues;
  • Justification for the incentive(s) being sought. This is to include reliable labour market data which has been analysed in comparison to the agency positions identified as experiencing critical skills shortages. It is necessary to take into consideration the nature of the work undertaken and the environment in which the work is undertaken in the private sector and which may not apply in the public sector;
  • Names and positions of each person proposed to receive an incentive under the Approved Procedure and/or the positions to be advertised to attract people with the required skills;
  • The period for which the incentives will apply, including justification of the proposed period; 
  • An analysis of any potential flow-on effects to other roles within the agency or across the public sector; and
  • How and when the attraction and retention components of the ARI are to be applied.

Approval of an ARI

Approval of an ARI under this Approved Procedure will be given having regard for one or more of the following criteria, dependent on the nature of the request:

  1. Employees are engaged in key or critical positions (e.g. with statutory and/or regulatory responsibilities) that have a clear and significant impact on specific Government endorsed priority services;
  2. There is a clear significant public interest to ensure that Government has the necessary skilled and experienced employees to deliver services (e.g. public safety);
  3. Specific industry and/or labour market linked operational attraction and retention issues can be demonstrated.
  4. The incentive is for a predetermined and finite period.
  5. A remuneration incentive is aligned, in full or part, to the attainment of predetermined milestones and/or operational/project targets.

It is also important that employing authorities examine on a case by case basis what alternative benefits may be provided to employees, for example: assisting career progression and/or professional development and considering the circumstances of the employees’ partner/family.

Application of an ARI

An incentive approved under this Approved Procedure shall:

  • only apply to individual employees or critical/specialist positions, except where otherwise approved;
  • unless otherwise approved, be paid as a flat dollar amount and subsequent periodic payments directly linked to identified milestones, statutory responsibilities and/or efficiencies. Where a fortnightly payment is necessary to secure the services of a suitable employee, payment will be in the form of a flat dollar amount that provides an overall annual benefit equivalent to the value of the benefit paid as a periodic payment;
  • unless otherwise approved, the value of payments is not to be expressed as a percentage of applicable base salary;
  • include consideration of the value of superannuation in determining the dollar value of any payment;
  • be subject to confirmation and acceptance by the employee(s) that the ARI is for a specified term and does not form part of their contract of employment.

Change to or continuation of an ARI

Where changes are sought to an approved incentive or its specified term concludes, and there is a need to continue the incentive at the conclusion of that specified term, a further application is to be made to re-establish a new incentive in accordance with this Approved Procedure.

These Guidelines, as revised from time to time, will be used to assess all incentives.

Page last updated 3 April 2018