26 September 2023

Holiday audit finds most follow rules

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A performance audit into whether 10 Australian Public Service (APS) entities complied with staff leave requirements has found that most did.

In his report Management of Staff Leave in the Australian Public Service, Auditor-General Grant Hehir said his audit assessed compliance in the management of staff leave in the 10 entities that collectively employed 37 per cent of the APS workforce and represented a cross-section of Agencies of different sizes and functions.

Mr Hehir said his team audited Aboriginal Hostels Ltd (AHL); the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission; Australian Taxation Office; Clean Energy Regulator; Department of Finance; Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources; Murray Darling Basin Authority; National Disability Insurance Agency; National Indigenous Australians Agency; and Services Australia.

He found the average staffing level of 56,588 personnel were employed by the 10 entities in the 2020–21 financial year.

“As of 30 June 2021, leave and other entitlements represented $3.0 billion (5.5 per cent) of Australian Government employee benefit expenses ($54.8 billion) and $11.1 billion (2.5 per cent) of Australian Government employee benefit liabilities ($447.5 billion),” Mr Hehir said.

“All 10 entities were compliant or largely compliant with annual, long service, parental/maternity, personal, and flexible leave obligations and entitlements,” he said.

“All entities except AHL have established policies for the administration of annual and purchased leave that align with relevant legislation, award and enterprise agreement provisions.”

He said that across all 10 entities, eight per cent (5,822) of employees had exceeded annual leave balance thresholds in enterprise agreements.

The Auditor made four recommendations related to human resource management information systems, controls, and policy development and alignment.

Mr Hehir made one recommendation to AHL to implement policies for the administration of all leave types, two to all 10 entities to establish appropriate controls to ensure the use of long service leave complied with requirements, and to support the management of flexible leave provisions.

He also recommended that the Department of Finance, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, National Indigenous Australians Agency, and Services Australia establish appropriate controls to ensure the use of maternity and parental leave complied with requirements.

The Auditor-General’s Report can be accessed at this PS News link and a 91-page printable version at this link.

The audit team was Pooja Bajaj, Alexander Aird, Michael Commens, Benjamin Webb and Colin Bienke.

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