Who is this page for?

  • Public sector employees
  • Public sector employers
  • Managers
  • Human Resource Managers

Supporting grievances and complaints processes plays an important role in the VPSC’s work to maintain and advocate for public sector professionalism and integrity.

Public sector employers must be aware of their obligations and requirements.

What is a Grievance?

A public sector employee (a person employed within a public service body, public entity or special body) may lodge a grievance (formal complaint) with their employer and is entitled to a reasonable avenue of redress and to be treated fairly and reasonably. A grievance may be lodged regarding an employment related action for example, issues relating to bullying, performance management, discipline and selection outcomes.

Grievance processes, and the employee and employer’s rights and responsibilities, are predominantly set out in the Public Administration Act 2004 and the public sector employment principles and related standards.

Additional information for public service body employees

In addition to the requirements of the Public Administration Act 2004 and the public sector employment principles and standards that apply to all public sector employees, there are specific procedures that apply only to public service employees.

A public service employee may lodge an initial review request under regulation 6 of the Public Administration (Review of Actions) Regulations 2015 where they consider their employer’s actions to be unfair, or inconsistent with the Public Administration Act 2004, the Regulations or the public sector standards.

What is a Complaint?

A public sector employee or member of the public may complain to the VPSC where they consider a public sector body or employee has not correctly applied or has breached the public sector values, codes of conduct or public sector employment principles and standards.

They should raise their complaint with the public sector body directly in the first instance, before making a complaint to the VPSC.

Public sector employers have obligations under the Public Administration Act 2004 that apply to their actions regarding the grievance process.


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There are three stages in VPSC’s review process, which only applies to reviews requested by public service body employees.


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VPSC advocates for good practice in resolving workplace issues.


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