The Victorian public sector adheres to the employment principles outlined in the Public Administration Act 2004.

The principles underpin employment processes within the Victorian public sector. The standards guide the development of employment processes.

Public Sector employers must have employment processes that are consistent with the public sector employment principles and any mandatory standards VPSC issues.

The standards and principles help shape the type of working environment we offer to our employees. They help set the right conditions for productive and harmonious working relationships by ensuring that employees are treated well, have career opportunities and can safely raise their concerns.

Public Sector Employment Principles

The principles define how employees can expect to be treated in the Victorian public sector when applying for jobs, working together, seeking development or resolving disputes.

Section 8 of the Public Administration Act 2004 outlines the principles and what employers must do with them.

8. Public sector employment principles

Public sector body Heads must establish employment processes that will ensure that—

  • (a) employment decisions are based on merit; and
  • (b) public sector employees are treated fairly and reasonably; and
  • (c) equal employment opportunity is provided; and
  • (ca) human rights as set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities are upheld; and
  • (d) public sector employees have a reasonable avenue of redress against unfair or unreasonable treatment; and
  • (e) in the case of public service bodies, the development of a career public service is fostered


Section 62 of the Act requires VPSC to issue binding standards concerning application of the public sector employment principles.

The standards identify the essential concepts that must be incorporated in an organisation’s employment processes to ensure that the principles apply at work.

VPSC has issued six standards that define essential elements of the employment principles:

  • Fair and Reasonable Treatment
  • Merit in Employment
  • Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Human Rights
  • Reasonable Avenue of redress
  • Career Public Service

Read the Standards for the Application of the Public Sector Employment Principles 2017 online

Download the Standards for the Application of the Public Sector Employment Principles 2017 (PDF, 119KB, 24pages)

Employment Standards Presentation

We’ve prepared a presentation which guides the audience through each of the standards and provides case studies for discussion. The presentation may be delivered to public sector staff with little modification.

Download the Employment Standards Presentation (PPTX, 323KB)

What’s new in 2017?

As part of our Integrity Strategy, VPSC has recently issued new standards for applying the employment principles. For the first time, the standards introduce requirements for human rights and career public service. A summary chart, comparing the 2006 and 2017 standards, is available for download.

Download the Comparison of 2006 and 2017 employment standards document (PDF, 69KB, 4pages)

 Promoting the principles

The Victorian Public Sector Commissioner and employers must promote the principles to employees. One of the ways the Commissioner does this is to issue standards and guidelines for applying the principles.

The Commission may require employers to provide information on how they are applying the principles in their organisation. It may recommend steps to promote or comply with the principles.