VPS 2024 - Exploring alternative ways of working

Updated 02/05/2024

Like all employers in Victoria, the VPS must ensure it has modern and flexible work arrangements which both attract and retain talent in the public service and support service delivery to the Victorian community.

To meet current and future workforce and service delivery challenges, the parties have agreed to a joint feasibility study to explore how alternative ways of work could be implemented in a VPS context.

The joint intent of this commitment is to work together to identify alternative ways of working which:

o    enhance employee health and wellbeing (emotional, mental, and physical),
o    support the rights for employees to disconnect from work,
o    improve work life balance,
o    reduce sickness absence, stress and burnout,
o    improve job satisfaction, attraction and retention of staff,
o    address gender equality concerns, support working parents and those with caring responsibilities,
o    work towards a more sustainable work environment, and
o    have a positive impact on culture and employee engagement.

The combined effect of the above criteria is anticipated to lead to improved productivity and service quality.

To further these objectives, the parties will establish a joint steering committee which will be charged with overseeing a study of the feasibility of alternative ways of working in a VPS context, and where appropriate piloting alternative ways of working to study the impact of these arrangements on achieving these objectives.

There are no preconceived ideas about what types of alternative work arrangements might be suitable for piloting in a VPS context and the joint working committee will consider a range of models for arranging, compressing or reducing ordinary working hours on their merits and analysed against agreed parameters.
The joint steering committee will have representatives from Industrial Relations Victoria (IRV), the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU).

It will be the role of the joint steering committee to work together to build mutual trust and understanding in order to identify models of alternative ways of working, which meet the agreed parameters and which could be trialled in the VPS and to make recommendations to Government about how a trial of those arrangements could be operationalised in suitable segments of the VPS.

Appropriate controls are in place to ensure piloting of any arrangements do not lead to greater costs to Government, create a need for additional resources, adversely affect employee wellbeing or workload or otherwise have negative impacts on service delivery or engagement with the Victorian community.

Where trials of alternative working arrangements are run, they will be run for a sufficient duration to allow data to be collected to assess the impacts of the model(s) on productivity, service delivery and employee wellbeing (including considering the individual circumstances of trial participants).

At the conclusion of the trial the joint working committee will present its findings to Government, to allow it to consider what, if any, models are suitable in a VPS context. Government would need to approve any new models before they would be implemented on an ongoing basis.

A joint approach to addressing workforce and service delivery challenges will ensure the VPS continues to offer competitive, modern and flexible working arrangements to its employee which supports efficient and responsive public service delivery, promotes workforce diversity and equality and ensures the VPS remains an employer of choice.

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