Becoming a model employer starts with the right workplace culture. In the Victorian public sector, that means being treated fairly, having career opportunities and being able to raise any concerns. These ideas are enshrined in our legislation and define the relationship between employers and employees.
Public sector employers must have employment processes that are consistent with the public sector employment principles and any mandatory standards issued by the Victorian Public Sector Commissioner.
As part of our Integrity Strategy, the Commissioner has recently issued new standards for applying the employment principles. For the first time, standards introduce requirements for human rights and career public service. These standards are binding on all Victorian public sector organisations and their employees.
The public sector has always focused on its relationship with clients. This includes protecting their human rights. Now we will also focus on the human rights of employees; rights such as the freedom to practise a religion, join a union or other association or to stand for election.
We also want to encourage employees to develop their career management skills and commit to life-long learning and sustained employability.
While the standards guide an organisation’s development of its employment processes, they also help employees understand what the principles mean in practice. The principles apply throughout the employee life cycle from recruitment to separation. They also often complement one another. For example when a selection panel focuses only on factors that are relevant to a person’s ability to perform a job, they avoid unlawful discrimination and can more readily select the best candidate.
VPSC also monitors how well the principles are applied in the Victorian public sector through the complaints it receives and the outcome of the annual People Matter Survey. Public service employees may complain to us if they consider that an initial review in their organisation was unfair or contravened the legislation or the standards. The People Matter Survey asks employees questions about the principles such as whether they are confident to discuss any concerns with their manager. Both sources of information are then used to guide further policy development and advice.