This fact sheet outlines your rights when it comes to performance, PDAs, targets, underperformance, and related matters.
Your conditions on these matters are outlined in clauses 107,108 and 121 of
the ATO (General Employees) Agreement 2009. (108 and 121 do not apply to
What is the performance system? The performance system enables organisational,
team and individual performance to achieve ATO outcomes through collaborative
Clause 121 of the GEA outlines the need for training and development, the
need to achieve ATO outcomes, the involvement of staff, and the importance of
regular discussions about performance and mutual expectations.
Individual Performance Development Agreements (PDAs) are intended to ensure
the ongoing development of staff and the achievement of planned outcomes.
The success of PDAs depends on the provision of regular feedback as outlined
in clause 121.3.
What are the ATO’s obligations to staff?
In driving the performance system, the ATO must:
Focus on “relationships that support (your) capability, motivation and
adaptability, thus contributing to increased job satisfaction”
Follow a collaborative approach
Focus on your learning and development needs
Provide regular feedback
Recognise your contributions
Ensure you know what’s expected of you
Discuss mutual expectations about working relationships with you.
What are your obligations?
Staff are required to develop a PDA with their manager, be available to
receive feedback, and to meet the general standard expected for a classification
What are your rights?
Adequate training to do your job
Input into the team plan
Agreement on what your PDAs contain
Feedback can only come from a source other than your Team Leader if you
Rights of review (more detail below)
We highly recommend that you immediately contact your CPSU delegate or our
Member Service Centre (1300 137 636) if your Team Leader wants to talk to you
about underperformance. You have fewer options and less influence on the outcome
the further the process travels. (Further information overleaf.)
Where a Team Leader forms the opinion that an employee’s work performance is
at risk of falling below the general level expected for a particular
classification level or job, the Team Leader will discuss their concerns with
The aim of this discussion is to see what help can be given to the employee
to improve to a satisfactory level. This help could include role clarification,
training, and /or some other support/development activity. This can be detailed
in a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), and shall provide a reasonable period
of time for the employee to achieve a satisfactory performance level.
The ATO can alternatively assign the employee to different duties that the
employee is capable of carrying out.
If the “informal” process does not result in satisfactory performance, the
“formal” Unsatisfactory Performance Procedures take place. At this stage
employees should be counselled as to the likely consequences if the employee
does not meet the required standard.
Key features of the Unsatisfactory Performance Process:
Not used in cases of suspected breach of APS code of conduct.
Not used where the employee’s physical or mental capacity may be the
cause of their unsatisfactory performance.
Not used where there is a genuine case where the employee can no longer
be effectively used because of technological or work practice changes.
Involves an assessment period, normally of eight weeks.
Employee assessed at least fortnightly.
Illness or injury of a single period of five days or more, or broken
periods up to 20% of the period, will extend the period by that amount.
If performance is still unsatisfactory after the period, the action that
can be taken includes movement to a more suitable work unit; reduction in
salary/classification; or termination of employment.
Employees have the right to comment on each progress report, which will
Employees can have annual, purchased or long service leave but it will
not extend the period unless the Director agrees or the leave had already
Employees can request a review of employment actions at any time, but
this will not delay the process. ATO will, however, stay a decision to
reduce classification if the request is lodged within ten days of a decision
and a statement in support of the report is lodged within a further 14 days.
Your Review Rights
You have the right to be represented by CPSU in all performance-related
matters. If you disagree with a decision made in relation to your PDA or a
performance matter, please talk to your CPSU delegate or call CPSU on 1300 137
636 immediately. We can help you to use the Disputes Avoidance and Settlement
Procedures (DASP) in your Agreement or to lodge a review of employment action.
It is important that you keep written documentation of this process and any
CPSU exists to make a positive difference to members’ lives. Collective
strength gives us the power to defend your rights at work. To join CPSU, see
your workplace delegate for an application form, join securely online
here or call 1300 137 636.