Equal Employment Opportunity Annual Report – 1991 EEO Activities 1990–91

The EEO activities undertaken by the Bank for the period under review are set out below under the Section 6 headings of the Act.

Section 6(a): Informing Employees

During the year, staff were kept informed of EEO matters in a variety of ways. These included:

  • The distribution to all staff of an information pamphlet outlining EEO principles and detailing the Bank's current plan. This pamphlet was also included in the induction material made available to all new employees.
  • The distribution to Managers and Personnel Officers of detailed implementation strategies for the current EEO plan.
  • The provision of EEO-related information through several of the Bank's internal publications, including the Bank's monthly staff magazine “Currency”; the Information Digest, a weekly newsheet distributed to management of all branches and departments; and in “Messages to Staff” from the Governor which outlined details of the restructuring process.
  • Distribution of the Bank's third annual EEO Report to staff.
  • EEO awareness/training sessions conducted as part of the Bank's Induction, English in the Workplace, Supervisory and Management programmes.
  • The distribution of EEO resource material and information to grievance officers, personnel officers and EEO branch contact officers.
  • Individual consultations with staff.

The EEO Unit has continued to build up its information resources through the purchase of video, audio and written material as well as the identification of relevant journal and newspaper articles.

Section 6(b): Conferring Responsibility

Responsibility for oversight of the Bank's EEO policy vests in the EEO Policy Committee, whose terms of reference are set out in Appendix 2 of this Report. During the past year, the Committee has continued to review EEO policy issues and monitor the implementation of the EEO two-year plan. A new Committee Chairperson was appointed in May 1991.

As part of a broader review of jobs within the Bank, the classification and duties of EEO Co-ordinator were reviewed during the year. The position continues to carry important day-to-day responsibility for EEO activities and now has the title EEO Manager in the new Bank structure.

The EEO Unit continues to maintain contact with Managers and Personnel Officers in departments and branches, and with EEO branch contact officers. Contact is also maintained with external Commonwealth and State Government agencies, private sector organisations and practitioner associations.

The responsibility of managers and supervisors for EEO activities has also been emphasised, particularly in training programmes.

Section 6(c): Consultation with Trade Unions

During 1990/91, the Bank continued consultation with trade unions on a number of EEO-related issues relating to the restructure, including:

  • New selection procedures for staff appointment.
  • Permanent part-time positions and job sharing.
  • A new performance assessment system.

In addition to formal consultation, the EEO Unit liaises on a regular basis with officials of the major staff union.

Section 6(d): Consultation with Employees

During the year, consultation and special meetings were held with various groups of staff. These included:

  • Discussions with staff from non-English speaking backgrounds on the recognition of overseas skills and qualifications.
  • Discussion with staff from non-English speaking backgrounds on the new staff selection process.
  • Establishment of a women's discussion/network group which met on several occasions in 1990/91 and provided a valuable forum for exchange of ideas and discussions on issues such as training opportunities, women's health and flexible work arrangements.

Section 6(e): Collection of Statistics

The Bank continues to collect EEO data from new entrants; combined with data obtained in earlier years and from the special survey of staff conducted in 1987, EEO statistics covering 96% of staff in Head Office and branches are now available. NPA is developing its own database for staff and is planning to upgrade its collection of EEO information.

Statistical data on length of service, qualifications and experience of women in managerial positions (Level 4 and above) has been collected and analysed.

Information on participation by gender at both internal and external training courses has been added to the Bank's database.

During the year, the EEO Finance Sector Group, of which the Bank is a member, collected statistics on the role and position of women in the finance industry, providing data which can be used as an industry baseline against which EEO initiatives can be measured.

Section 6(f): Consideration of Policies and Examination of Practices

Work on a number of EEO-related matters has been progressed over the past 12 months. The main areas include:

Policies: The Bank's policy on sexual harassment has been reviewed and a broader policy statement on discrimination and harassment has been developed. It will be distributed toall staff and included in the induction kit for new staff.

Aboriginal Employment: The Bank has become a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Network, a group that examines the issues relating to the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal staff. Two Aboriginal people commenced traineeships with the Bank in office skills (clerical) conducted under the Australian Traineeship System.

Training: Following a review of participation at internal residential training courses, discussions were held between Training and Staff Development areas and some women in the Bank to identify possible barriers to women's participation in such courses.

In 1990/91, 194 staff, of which 37% were women, received study assistance for courses in Australia. The overall aim of the Study Assistance programme is to encourage professional and personal development and is a means of meeting the Bank's identified skill needs. A further three men and one woman received assistance for full-time studies overseas. A more detailed break-up is shown below. The information will form the baseline for future comparison.

English in the Workplace: 22 staff attended classes organised by the Bank. The classes were tailored to meet the particular skill requirements and work demands of each group, including staff from the catering and cleaning areas. English language video tapes were also purchased and are available for use by all staff.

Overseas Qualifications: The Bank reviewed the process for the recognition of overseas qualifications, resulting in changes to the process. Overseas qualifications are now assessed internally in accordance with the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR) guidelines. Staff were notified of these changes.

Grievances: The Bank's Grievance Authority met on eight occasions in 1990/91 in response to grievances lodged by staff.

During the year, the EEO Unit re-examined the profile and effectiveness of grievance officers, and held discussions with a number of managers on gender equity, terms of appointment, training, and the role of grievance officers in branches and departments.

During the year, NPA established its own grievance procedures under which appeals are ultimately heard byan independent chairperson. Separately, a special appeals procedure was set up for members of staff dissatisfied with their placement in the new pay bands; over 50 appeals were lodged, of which all but three were resolved before reaching the appeal committee.

Graph Showing Study Assistance – Departments and Branches

People with Disabilities: The survey of facilities available in Bank premises for people with disabilities was updated.

The architects, Allen Jack and Cottier, won the joint ACROD (Australian Council for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled)/RAIA (Royal Australian Institute of Architects) Award for Barrier-Free Disabled Access for their design of the Bank's Training Centre, the HC Coombs Centre for Financial Studies.

Additional consultation continues with employment organisations dealing specifically with people with disabilities. NPA has established contact with the Yooralla Society of Victoria in order to determine ways in which people with disabilities might be integrated into NPA's workforce. Work experience in Head Office was organised during the year through the Royal Blind Society for a person with visual impairment.

Women on Parental Leave: A system of maintaining contact with women who are on parental leave has been introduced. Interviews now occur before commencing maternity leave and a programme of follow-up interviews whilst on leave has been developed to discuss return dates, areas of work interest and any other relevant issues.

Men on Parental Leave: Since April 1990, male staff have been able to take 12 months' unpaid leave to care for their children under two years of age. To date, one staff member has taken advantage of these arrangements.

Exit Interview Form: Changes have been made to exit interview procedures to provide more specific feedback about EEO matters. Women who resign without returning to the Bank from parental leave are now invited to complete an exit interview form. The current form has been modified: additional questions regarding maternity leave and current arrangements for part-time work have been included to assist assessment of the adequacy of these arrangements and the retention of women with childcare responsibilities.

Graph Showing Return of Women From Maternity Leave

Section 6(g): Setting Objectives and Selecting Indicators

The Bank's current EEO plan initially covering the period January 1990 to December 1991 was extended to 30 June 1992, an adjustment designed to bring the planning cycle and implementation phases of the Bank's EEO programmes into line with legislative reporting requirements.

During the year, initiatives were taken to develop further statistical indicators of EEO progress. In addition to statistics on training and retention rates mentioned earlier, other indicators include: the gender distribution of staff by department and branch, level and by age pre and post restructuring, the gender composition of staff receiving study assistance, and the collation of data on women who occupy middle to upper management positions, i.e. Level 4 and above. A survey is being considered to cover a range of work and family issues including childcare and flexible work arrangements.

Section 6(h): Monitoring and Evaluation

Changes associated with the restructure process make the analysis of data and the interpretation of trends in EEO statistics difficult. For salaried staff, vacant positions in the new structure have been progressively filled from senior levels down, a process still in train at the end of the reporting period. Since the proportion of women and those in designated groups is small at senior levels, by 30 June few of the promotions or transfers associated with the restructure had affected staff in those groups. In addition, at 30 June about 100 staff had accepted early retirement or voluntary redundancy offers but had not yet left the Bank's service; further offers were in prospect. These and other factors are likely to influence the age and gender structure within the Bank and to change the representation of different groups, but it is too early to assess their precise impact.

Against this background, the picture given by the statistics (some of which are set out in Appendix (3) of this Report) remains broadly in line with that observed a year ago, and in particular shows:

  • despite the decline in overall recruitment, a small increase in the proportion of women recruited;
  • an increase in the number and proportion of women in mainstream clerical, administrative and technical positions; by 30 June 1991, women held about 44% of such positions, although their representation at higher management levels in the Bank remains small;
  • an increase in the number of women returningto full time workafter maternity leave;
  • for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, a small increase in overall numbers, with two trainees recruited to clerical/administrative positions;
  • a further fall in the number of people with disabilities, perhaps again reflecting voluntary redundancies by relatively older members of staff;
  • no change in the proportion of total staff with non-English speaking backgrounds or with parents of such backgrounds;
  • very little change in the relative incomes of designated groups; this appears, in part, to reflect the low levels of promotion, recruitment, and resignation which have occurred over the past year due to timing of the restructuring process.

As in past years, it is not possible to say with certainty how much the Bank's EEO programme has contributed to these outcomes. Nevertheless, the results and direction seem consistent with the expected results of the EEO programme.