The ALRC has one office in Sydney and all staff are located at this office. On 30 June 2014, the ALRC’s full-time equivalent staffing level was 11.1 FTE. This figure does not include Commissioners (1.8 FTE).
Table 8: Staffing profile as at 30 June 2014
In addition to this core staffing, the ALRC was provided with additional resources for 2013–14 to enable it to work on more than two concurrent inquiries. With these additional resources, a Commissioner was brought on for the Privacy Inquiry and three non-ongoing legal officers were employed at the APS 5–6 level to work on the Privacy Inquiry and the Disability Inquiry.
Staff retention and turnover
During 2013–14 three ongoing employees resigned from the ALRC.
Table 9: ALRC staff 2013–14
Greg Diggs (resigned in September 2013)
Executive Assistant/Project Coordinator
Office Services Coordinator
Online Communications Manager
Principal Legal Officer
Senior Legal Officer
Senior Legal Officer
Amanda Alford (resigned in May 2014)
Acting Senior Legal Officer
Sara Peel (resigned in November 2013)
All employees are covered by the ALRC Enterprise Agreement 2011–14. This Agreement is designed to ensure the ALRC values and develops its employees through:
o providing flexible conditions and working arrangements that assist employees in balancing their work and personal responsibilities;
o providing a safe and healthy workplace; and
o promoting a work environment that upholds and supports policies relating to staff development, anti-discrimination, consultative workplace relations, work health and safety, and workplace diversity.
(b) supporting a responsive organisation able to meet future challenges by:
o providing remuneration that is competitive and fair;
o promoting arrangements that increase productivity;
o maintaining a strong performance and merit-based culture that encourages both individual and collegial achievements and contributions, and improves overall organisational performance;
o being consultative and encouraging open communication; and
o encouraging responsible and accountable practices across the organisation.
(c) facilitating productive workplace relations and collective bargaining in good faith with ALRC employees and their representatives that will assist the ALRC to identify and realise productivity improvements.
The ALRC Enterprise Agreement is due to be re-negotiated during 2014–15.
Performance rewards and bonuses
The ALRC Enterprise Agreement 2011–14 makes provision for an annual increase of 3% and includes a salary scale, with each pay point in the scale representing a 3% increase in salary. The performance appraisal provisions of the Agreement allow for performance to be rewarded through a mixture of movement up the salary scale and one-off bonuses, as summarised below.
Table 10: Performance rewards and bonuses
2 pay point increase
Meets all performance expectations
1 pay point increase
Meets most performance expectations
Remain on current pay point
Does not meet performance expectations
Remain on current pay point or go down one or more pay points in accordance with procedures in Clause 20, ‘Managing Underperformance’
An employee who is at the maximum salary point for a classification will be eligible for a bonus of up to 2% of his or her annual salary, based on a performance appraisal. If rated as meeting all performance expectations, the bonus will be 1%. If rated as exceeding, the bonus will be 2%. If rated as meeting most, or not meeting performance expectations, there will be no bonus awarded.
During 2013–14, six employees were awarded a performance bonus, amounting to a total bonus payment for the year of $11,050.70.
- EL1: 3 employees—$5,772.37
- APS 5–6: 1 employee—$1,821.07
- APS 4: 2 employees—$3,457.26
Further details of total remuneration expenditure in 2013–14 are provided in the financial statements.
The performance appraisal process is the main mechanism for determining professional development needs of employees, but the ALRC also considers requests for education and training as they arise. The ALRC budgets for professional development at a whole-of-organisation level as well as for individual employees. In addition, the ALRC considers attendance at relevant conferences and professional seminars to contribute to the professional development of staff.
The following professional development opportunities were taken up by corporate staff during 2013–14:
- Finance Manager attended training on Advanced Excel, GST and FBT
- Finance Assistant attended EOFY Meridian training
- Office Services Coordinator attended First Aid training
Legal officers attended the following conferences and seminars:
- ALRC Inquiry into Copyright and the Digital Economy, Communications and Media Law Association Inc and the Copyright Society Copyright seminar, 16 July 2013
- Should we learn to stop worrying and love fair use?, UTS Forum, 18 July 2013
- Intellectual Property and the Creative Industries Today, UNSW Seminar, 13 August 2013
- Re-thinking the Role of IP, 5th Francis Gurry Lecture on Intellectual Property, 21 August 2013
- Human rights versus Restrictive Practices Forum, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) and Anti-Discrimination Commission Qld, 30 August 2013
- Criminal Justice Forum, The Disability Advocacy Information Service Inc (DAIS), 16 October 2013
- Legal Capacity, Mental Capacity and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Macquarie University Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics Public Lecture, 23 October 2013
- Breaking Down Barriers, NDIS webinar, 10 December 2013
- Oxford-UNSW Copyright Scholars Roundtable, 17 December 2013
- Equal before the law: Towards disability justice strategies, Australian Human Rights Commission, 5 February 2014
- Imagining Social Equity, Melbourne Social Equity Institute Inaugural Conference, 28 February–1 March 2014
- 16th Biennial Copyright Law and Practice Symposium, 14 March 2014
- Women, Disability, the NDIS and the Broader Community, NDIS webinar, 20 March 2014
- Meet the NDIS Governors, NDIS webinar, 16 April 2014
- Australasian Law Reform Agencies Conference, 28–30 May 2014
- Living with Native Title from the Bush to the Sea, AIATSIS National Native Title Conference, 2–4 June 2014
- Native Title and Cultural Heritage Law, Legalwise Seminars, 24 June 2014
Study leave is available for all ongoing employees (full-time and part-time). Study assistance provided by the ALRC is in the form of granting up to five days unpaid leave per academic year (part-time staff will be granted a pro rata amount) to facilitate an employee’s study. Three employees were granted study leave in 2013–14.
The ALRC is committed to ensuring that all Australians are able to contribute to shaping the laws that affect them, and have the opportunity to participate in the law reform process. The ALRC recognises the diversity of the Australian community and has developed an Agency Multicultural Plan (AMP) that provides strategies for ensuring that ALRC processes are accessible and responsive to the diverse needs of this community. In working towards meaningful and ongoing dialogue with people from diverse backgrounds, the ALRC commits to:
- engage and consult with diverse groups, individuals and organisations;
- promote diverse representation in the ALRC workforce and internship program;
- promote understanding of issues relevant to diverse peoples amongst ALRC staff; and
- consider the impact on diverse peoples in developing recommendations for reform.
The ALRC will also ensure that it provides a workplace that is free from discrimination, patronage and favouritism. The ALRC fosters a diverse workforce and ensures that its recruitment processes are fair and accessible. This includes a commitment to attract and recruit people from diverse backgrounds and, wherever possible, to participate in whole-of-APS recruitment programs.
The ALRC also has an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy and Reasonable Adjustment Guidelines. The EEO Policy is a statement of the ALRC’s commitment to the goals of equal opportunity and affirmative action in employment, and aims to provide a work environment for staff, contractors and interns that fosters fairness, equity and respect for social and cultural diversity, and that is free from unlawful discrimination, harassment or vilification. The EEO Policy also sets out procedures to ensure concerns and complaints are dealt with in a prompt and appropriate manner.
The Reasonable Adjustment Guidelines are designed to assist in fulfilling the ALRC’s responsibilities for providing a workplace that allows employees, contractors and interns with disability to compete for vacancies and pursue careers effectively. The Guidelines require management to consider whether it is necessary and reasonable to make an adjustment to remove a barrier to enable a person with disability to achieve equal opportunity, equal participation or equal performance at work.
A breakdown of staff by gender and classification is provided in Table 8.
Work health & safety
The ALRC is committed to providing and maintaining the highest degree of work health and safety for all employees and other persons who engage with the ALRC’s work by aiming to prevent all injury and illness potentially caused by working conditions. The ALRC recognises its responsibility to provide a healthy and safe workplace for employees and to provide them with workplace-based, easily accessible information on work health and safety matters.
The ALRC’s Health and Safety Management Arrangements (HSMAs) and Work Health and Safety Policy (WH&S Policy) provide the framework for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all its employees. The ALRC has a commitment to consult with employees and their representatives on work health and safety issues and to work together to ensure a safe work environment. As part of this, the ALRC shares relevant information about health, safety and welfare with employees and ensures that they are given the opportunity to express their views and to contribute in a timely fashion to the resolution of work health, safety and welfare issues.
The ALRC supports the use of a risk management approach to work health and safety. The ALRC identifies any potential risks to the health and safety of ALRC employees and puts in place strategies to minimise any potential hazards or risks. WH&S policies are accessible to employees on the ALRC file server and new employees are provided with information on work health and safety as part of the induction process.
The ALRC has a Work Health and Safety Committee (WHASC) comprised of the Executive Director, a Legal Officer and union delegate, Office Services Coordinator (Safety Officer), and Executive Assistant/Project Coordinator. ALRC employees have a responsibility to report to the WHASC any situation that could constitute a hazard to the health, safety or welfare of any ALRC employee. Any accident or injury that occurs while an employee is undertaking ALRC work—regardless of where it is being undertaken—must be reported immediately to the WHASC. There were no accidents nor any dangerous occurrences during 2013–14 that required giving of notice under the WH&S Act.
Workstation assessments are carried out at least every two years and on the start of employment. A number of standing desks were provided on request.
All employees undertake emergency procedures training. Fire Warden training is also undertaken on a regular basis as part of our tenancy requirements.
The ALRC conducts an annual health and safety audit and this was completed in February 2014. During 2013–14, there were no WH&S issues reported.
During the reporting period, the ALRC provided WH&S training to all employees on issues of preventing burnout, encouraging motivation and working effectively in teams.
As a workplace health initiative under the Enterprise Agreement, the ALRC provides free and voluntary influenza vaccinations to staff each year. In 2013–14, eight employees took advantage of a free vaccination.
The ALRC also offers a reimbursement of up to $150 per annum for activities that contribute to employees’ health and well-being. In addition, all employees have access to a free and confidential counselling service that provides up to three free sessions of counselling per year.