The AEC relies on its highly skilled and professional people to achieve its key activities. We are committed to developing all employees to build capability in our specialised workforce. Our unique workforce is multi-tiered and structured to enhance service and deliver seamless services to the Australian community.
Our people continue to experience significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AEC invests in early intervention health initiatives to ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees.
We value the critical contributions our people make to delivering our core business and nurturing our positive workplace culture. We aim to ensure we can attract and retain the right people, at the right time, with the right skills.
At 30 June 2021 the AEC had a regular workforce of 750 APS employees. This included:
- 677 ongoing APS employees
- 73 non-ongoing APS employees.
A breakdown of the AEC workforce is in Table 3 (below).
The AEC also has:
- a casual APS workforce of 617
- six Statutory Office holders
- 19 APS employees who identify as Indigenous Australians (15 ongoing and four non-ongoing).
Table 3: AEC APS workforce by employment type and classification (excluding statutory office holders), 30 June 2021
Detailed workforce statistics, including statutory appointments are in Appendix H: Workforce statistics
Terms and conditions of employment
The AEC’s regular workforce is engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 (Public Service Act) and the temporary election workforce under section 35(1) of the Electoral Act.
Employees engaged under the Public Service Act have their employment governed by the AEC’s Enterprise Agreement 2016–2019 published on the AEC website. Under the enterprise agreement, our people receive a range of non-salary benefits, including paid personal (carers) leave. This supports employees with caring responsibilities as outlined in the Carer Recognition Act 2010.
With agreement from our employees, remuneration adjustments can occur through a section 24(1) Determination made under the Public Service Act, which was signed by the Electoral Commissioner on 30 November 2019.
The Electoral Commissioner may agree to individual flexibility arrangements with employees, which can vary the effect of the terms of the enterprise agreement. The AEC had 22 employees engaged under individual flexibility arrangements at 30 June 2021 - see Table 38: Australian Public Service Act Employment arrangements current report period (2020–21).
The AEC engages a temporary election workforce for election events. These employees are engaged under section 35(1) of the Electoral Act and their terms and conditions of employment are outlined in a Collective Determination.
The AEC is required to disclose the remuneration, policy, practices and governance arrangements of executive officials, including:
- key management personnel
- senior executives
- other highly paid employees, whose total remuneration exceeds the threshold amount of $230,000 for the reporting period.
The terms and conditions of the AEC’s statutory office holders are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal and the Governor-General under the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973. This includes remuneration of the Chairperson of the Commission, Electoral Commissioner, Deputy Electoral Commissioner, and Australian Electoral Officers.
Remuneration for the AEC’s senior executive employees is established through individual determinations made under section 24(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 with regard to:
- the APS Executive Remuneration Management Policy
- the Australian Government Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018
- an assessment of the relativities with other APS agencies as indicated in the annual APS Remuneration Report produced by the APSC and released in June each year.
Salary levels for SES employees are generally set at rates within a salary band applicable to each SES classification. A list of salary ranges by classification is in appendix H, Table 39: Australian Public Service Act employment salary ranges by classification level (minimum/maximum) current report period (2020–21). Details of executive remuneration are published on both the AEC and Remuneration Tribunal websites, and at appendix H Table 41: Information about remuneration for key management personnel (KMP) and Table 42: Information about remuneration for senior executives (SES).
Disability reporting mechanisms
The AEC provides a variety of education and communication initiatives to meet the needs of Australians with disability. These are reported through the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, the State of the Service report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at www.apsc.gov.au
The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 is Australia’s overarching framework for disability reform. It acts to ensure the principles underpinning the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are incorporated into Australia’s policies and programs that affect people with disability, their families and carers.
All levels of government will continue to be held accountable for implementing the strategy through progress reporting to the Council of Australian Governments every second year. Progress reports can be found at dss.gov.au
To improve workforce planning the AEC increasingly uses business intelligence and data to support decision-making and service delivery.
In 2020–21, the AEC established better evidence-based processes to successfully source, train and pay the appropriate number of capable temporary employees — at the right time — to deliver successful elections. Data and metrics were taken from:
- the operation of our staffing help desk
- HR systems
- temporary election workforce surveys.
Underpinned by this data, the AEC works towards applying consistent principles to support workforce and operational planning.
The AEC also chairs the Electoral Council of Australia and New Zealand Temporary Election Staff Working Group, which explores opportunities for greater cooperation and harmonisation for temporary election staff employed across federal, state and local elections in Australia.
Secondments to support APS COVID-19 response
Over the COVID-19 pandemic period, the AEC responded to the Australian Public Service Commission’s request for a rapid deployment of employees to other APS agencies. The AEC nominated 255 employees for secondment and 47 were seconded to assist.
Work health and safety
The AEC takes a proactive approach to workplace health, safety and rehabilitation. As part of its compliance obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 and the Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2019, the AEC has the following systems to monitor, evaluate and maintain health, safety and welfare:
- our Rehabilitation Management System, which meets Comcare’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2012 under section 41 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988
- our work health and safety management system — AECsafety — which was further refined during the year
- the AEC risk management framework.
The AEC has established several initiatives to monitor, evaluate and maintain health, safety and welfare across the agency. These include engaging workplace rehabilitation providers to help injured or ill employees to make a safe return to work. We also promote:
- free annual influenza vaccinations for staff
- the AEC’s early intervention program which supports employees injured at work, and helps reduce injury-related absenteeism
- the AEC’s employee assistance program
- ergonomic workstation assessments to prevent injury and to ensure pre-existing injuries are not aggravated.
In 2020–21 the AEC incident management team increased its regular meetings to adjust to COVID-19. It also undertook ongoing external environment reviews to ensure preventative work health and safety controls were reflected in the AEC’s COVID risk assessment.
Australian Public Service Commission guidance was implemented to ensure a COVID-safe transition for employees coming back to the workplace. The AEC also aligned its response to the pandemic with decisions made by the Government for a COVID-safe Australia.
Updated and timely communication informed and supported employees through the pandemic. Wellbeing initiatives such as mental health webinars, our Employee Assistance Program and external support services, were also implemented and made available to employees.
Health and safety incident and claim management
In 2020–21, 442 health and safety incidents were reported, compared with 148 in the previous year. This increase is attributed to reporting requirements concerning COVID-19. Employees were required to submit an incident report if they undertook a COVID-19 screening test.
Six incidents were reported to Comcare for investigation, and no liaison inspections were conducted.
Injury and illness claims decreased in 2020–21. At 30 June 2021 there were:
- 11 continuing cases for compensation
- 10 new cases for compensation submitted by APS employees who were employed under the Electoral Act. Of these:
- four claims were accepted by Comcare
- two claims were rejected by Comcare, submitted for reconsideration, and rejected again
- two claims are still pending
- two claims were accepted through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- no claims were withdrawn.
The AEC did not conduct any injury or illness investigations and there were no notifiable incidents for serious injury or illness, or for a dangerous occurrence (see table below).
Table 4: New claims for compensable and non-compensable injuries
Case management type
*Early intervention figures are included as non-compensable in the table above.
Developing our people
The National Training and Education Unit leads and coordinates learning and development for the AEC workforce to build:
- critical operational and leadership capabilities that underpin election readiness and delivery
- essential workplace and public sector specific knowledge and skills
- a focus on electoral integrity, compliance and quality
- a vibrant learning culture.
Learning and development is guided by the AEC Learning and Professional Development Strategy 2020–2025, through five priorities:
- developing a vibrant learning culture
- clarifying accountabilities and responsibilities
- ensuring a capable temporary election workforce
- establishing a learning infrastructure
- building capability.
In 2020–21 the AEC launched three national programs:
- AEC National Induction Program – the first step on the learning pathway for new AEC staff
- Senior Leaders Program – a contemporary program designed to further enhance the leadership capabilities and professionalism of the AEC’s leaders
- Operational Leaders Program – a modular program designed to enhance critical operational and leadership capabilities for AEC staff, and to promote compliance and quality assurance.
These programs were complemented by a suite of learning and development opportunities available to the workforce, along with the annual mandatory learning program.
The AEC also supports staff to apply for study assistance and support for professional memberships.
The development of an AEC Coaching and Mentoring Framework and an AEC Capability Framework is currently underway.