Commonwealth freezes wage increases for Public Servants

Release Date: 
9 April 2020
Media release

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Hon Ben Morton MP, has deferred general wage increases for Commonwealth Public Servants for 6 months.

“The Australian Public Service (APS) remains a critical part of our efforts to minimise the impacts on COVID-19 on the Australian economy for workers and their families. Everyone from the Prime Minister down appreciates the outstanding work the APS is doing.”

“Every APS employee will have someone in their families, or know someone, affected by the current economic circumstances.  While communities are doing it tough, it’s important the APS helps share the economic burden.”

Last month, the Government implemented a stay for senior Public Servants’ salary increases and also requested a stay for all Ministers, parliamentarians and parliamentary office holders.

The deferral of wage increases commences from 14 April and will remain in effect for 12 months.  During this period, agencies will defer upcoming wage increases by 6 months as they fall due.  This will ensure the deferral is shared equally by all APS employees.

Assistant Minister Morton has signed a Determination under subsection 24(3) of the Public Service Act 1999 giving effect to this decision, taken due to the exceptional economic  circumstances being faced by Australians as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This Determination will apply to APS agencies only.

The Assistant Minister has asked the APS Commissioner, Mr Peter Woolcott AO, to exercise his authority under the Government’s bargaining policy to ensure that new wage proposals approved over the next 12 months are also consistent with the Government’s expectations of a 6 month deferral of pay increases.

The Assistant Minister has also asked the Commissioner to write to non-APS agencies, informing them of the Government’s expectations of them to implement a 6 month deferral as well.

“Our intention is to return to what has been a very successful public sector wages policy as soon as is possible, but we will continue to monitor the economic outlook and respond as necessary,” Mr Morton said.