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WRIPs aren’t redundancies – make sure you are not being wripped off

A NUMBER of Members have raised concerns with the CPSU about the use of Workforce Renewal Incentive Program payments (WRIPs) in their workplace. We thought it useful to provide some more information.

What they are

The program is called the Workplace Renewal Incentive Program. Its initial intention was to address the issue of an aging workforce by encouraging long serving employees in professional roles to retire early so recent graduates could fill their positions. The program was intended to be self-funding because the new employees would start on lower classifications than those employees leaving the service, with the difference in salary funding the incentive payment.

Before an agency can offer WRIPs the State Service Management Office must approve its program. The business case that must be submitted to have the program approved must detail how positions made vacant through the WRIP program will be filled. According to the formal program the Head of State Service approved, this can only be done in one of three ways:

 

– re-profiling and reclassifying the position along with other positions in that work area to better suit the current contemporary way to deliver services; and/or

– the recruitment of a new employee with a fresh set of skills, knowledge and experience including targeting a diversity group like youth/graduates, often at a lower classification; and/or

– transferring an ‘identified’ or a ‘surplus’ employee into that position.

 

Before a Head of Agency can offer or approve a WRIP payment they must be able to demonstrate the position will be filled through one of the processes detailed above. Clearly this means that positions made vacant from an employee accepting a WRIP can’t just remain vacant or be removed from the establishment.

What they aren’t

WRIPs aren’t redundancies.

An employee whose position is made redundant e.g. the role and functions they were performing will no longer be performed by anyone, is entitled to be redeployed to a suitable alternate position. Where the employer can’t readily identify a suitable alternate position they may offer the employee a voluntary redundancy. If the employer declares the person ‘surplus’ they can then be referred to a central redeployment process and must be offered a voluntary redundancy. If a suitable alternate position is not identified in six months then the employer can terminate the person’s employment and pay them a forced redundancy.

The key point is that WRIPs aren’t a cheaper way to downsize the public service. If positions are being out from your area then they should be managed through the appropriate mechanisms – redeployment and if necessary, voluntary redundancy. If a person in your workplace leaves as a result of a WRIP you have a right to know which of the three possible mechanisms will be used to refill the position – remember that information should be readily available because the Head of Agency was required to demonstrate which of these processes would be used to fill the position before approving payment.

If you have questions, concerns or need support to ask about WRIPs in your workplace then contact your union.

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