This audit would examine the use of incentive-to-retire provisions for Senior Executive Service (SES) officers in the Australian Public Service (APS).

Accountable authorities have the discretion to offer an SES employee an incentive to retire under section 37 of the Public Service Act 1999. The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has provided advice and guidance about the basis for offering an incentive to retire, determining the offer amount, and the minimum time period before re-entering the APS. APSC guidance is that such incentives may be offered where the SES employee is in excess of requirements or no longer has the skills to perform at their SES classification. In determining the incentive amount, a balance is to be struck between an offer that gives the employee sufficient incentive to retire and the requirement to ensure the proper use of public money.

APSC guidance further states that the standard non-SES redundancy formula of two weeks’ pay per year of service, to a maximum of 48 weeks, is an appropriate reference point, and that agency heads are to consult the Australian Public Service Commissioner where a payment in excess of 48 weeks is considered. Incentive-to-retire payments are subject to the restrictions applying to subsequent employment in the APS as set out in section 48 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016.