Equal Employment Opportunity Annual Report – 1993 EEO Activities 1992–1993

Section 6(a): Informing Employees

Information for Bank staff about EEO-related issues and activities was disseminated through Bank publications, internal distribution of material, and Bank training courses.

  • An occasional news sheet – “Staff Matters” – which is distributed to all staff, informed employees of the provisions of the new Disability Discrimination legislation, appraisal/promotions matters and the progress of issues such as flexible work arrangements, productivity bargaining and on-going restructures. The “Information Digest”, circulated to management, also included EEO-related information. At NPA a weekly news sheet, distributed to all employees, contained information on personnel and EEO-related issues.
  • All staff receive a copy of the Bank's monthly staff magazine, “Currency”, which in 1992/93 included a number of articles aimed at raising EEO awareness in the Bank. Articles included the role and membership of the EEO Policy Committee, profiles of senior women managers in the Bank, the Bank's on-going involvement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Network group, the Disability Discrimination Act provisions, workshops conducted for women returning to the Bank following parental leave, and the acquisition of telephone typewriters for people with hearing impairments.
  • The Bank's EEO Annual Report for 1991–92 was distributed to staff and new employees received copies at induction sessions.
  • EEO awareness/training sessions continued to be included in the induction, supervision and management courses held during the year for Bank staff.
  • Information on changes to EEO legislation was distributed to managers and included in a session for Senior Administrative Officers. The bi-monthly provision of information packages to branches on general and local EEO issues continued during the year.
  • Discussions on relevant EEO matters continued with managers and staff in both Head Office and branches, and information was sent to individuals, in response to specific requests, or to meet local training needs.
  • Details on NSW school holiday care and activities were updated for distribution to Head Office and Sydney branch staff.
  • Women on parental leave were sent relevant information on a regular basis.
  • A collection of EEO resource material – including books, periodicals and videotapes – continues to be developed by the Bank's EEO Unit; increased staff use of these resources is being encouraged.

Section 6(b): Conferring Responsibility

Development of policy, and monitoring implementation of the EEO Plan, is undertaken by the EEO Policy Committee. During the year, the Committee examined a number of issues, including the approach to be adopted for the development and implementation of the next EEO Plan and the options available for introducing more flexible work arrangements. The Terms of Reference of the Committee are listed in Appendix 1.

Decentralisation of decision making on personnel matters has continued. Managers and supervisors throughout the Bank carry the major responsibility for ensuring EEO principles are carried into day-to-day practice and this has been re-inforced through appropriate training courses and by ongoing discussion. Line managers will also have a major part to play in the implementation of the specific strategies that form part of the Bank's next Two-Year Plan.

Note Printing Australia (NPA), a division of the Bank which operates as a separate business enterprise with a Board of Directors chaired by one of the Bank's Deputy Governors, is responsible for setting its own personnel policies and practices, includinggoals and strategies for achieving equal employment opportunity. These remain broadly consistent with the Bank's program but are more reflective of NPA's manufacturing environment.

The EEO Unit continues to provide policy advice and support for all levels of management in the Bank, including NPA.

Section 6(c): Consultation with Trade Unions

In December 1992 the Bank signed a two year Productivity Bargaining Agreement with the Commonwealth Bank Officers' Association (CBOA-Reserve Bank Division, the major staff union. The Agreement commits the parties to address a number of EEO-related matters: hours of work, flexible work arrangements, job redesign, and development and training. Negotiations with other unions represented in the Bank are also underway and productivity agreements covering most employees are expected to be finalised in the near future.

A substantial restructuring of the Bank's branches was announced during the year and the implications of this for job classifications, redundancy and promotional opportunities and general working arrangements was also the subject of consultation with the CBOA. Particular attention was paid to ensuring, as far as possible, the equitable treatment of staff at all stages ofthe restructuring process.

A three year Enterprise Agreement was signed between NPA and relevant unions in December. The Agreement includes the provision for additional yearly payments based on agreed productivity measures. These are determined by a working party consisting of two management and two union representatives, providing an opportunity for employees to be involved in determining remuneration mechanisms. In addition, the Joint Union/Management Consultative Committee at NPA has continued to meet throughout the year. This provides a forum for EEO issues to be raised for discussion and resolution.

The EEO Unit liaises on a regular basis with the CBOA, and a representative of this union is a member of the EEO Policy Committee.

Section 6(d): Consultation with Employees

Consultation with individual staff members and groups, both formally and informally, occurred during the year on a range of issues:

  • Eight meetings of the Women's Discussion/Network Group were held during the year. Of particular interest were discussions about flexible work arrangements in the Bank and the scope for widening the current range of options. Sessions on career development, and the role of mentor relationships, were held. Discussion on the Bank's training courses also took place, and the group received information on external courses tailored to meet the needs of women.
  • Individual staff members sought discussion and advice on a variety of EEO-related issues, including English language skill development, career and personal development issues, balancing work and family responsibilities, parental leave issues, concerns over part-time status, harassment and recognition of same sex partners.
  • Discussions with the Bank's Aboriginal trainees helped to identify special needs and appropriate levels of support.

Section 6(e): Collection of Statistics

EEO data continues to be collected on a voluntary basis from new recruits and added to the Bank's existing EEO information. NPA also collected additional information from staff during the year, enabling improved reportingon membership of designated groups.

The Bank's personnel information system has been reviewed and a new system is currently being developed. Attention has been given to ensuring that existing EEO and related data is maintained and that access for analysis is improved. Additional indicators have also been identified to permit improved reporting once the system is operational.

Additional statistics gathered during this reporting period include: improved information on the graduate and trainee application rates and outcomes; attrition rates; transfer data; voluntary redundancy/early retirement data; and an updating of age profiles.

During the year the Department of Industrial Relations, as part of an evaluation of EEO programs in the Public Sector, requested information on aspects of the Bank's EEO program and reported data. This resulted in re-examination of existing data in order to provide information on the standardised basis the Department was seeking. Further work is to be undertaken over the next twelve months to determine whether the Bank's current data reporting format should be changed.

Graph Showing Age Distribution of Staff
Graph Showing Transfers of Staff

Section 6(f): consideration of policies and examination of practices

The areas examined during the latest reporting period include:

Review of the Performance Appraisal Scheme

The performance appraisal system introduced in 1992 was reviewed towards the end of the period covered by this report, to identify areas for improvement. Appraisals for employees Level 2 to Level 5 in departments and branches were evaluated for goal quality, match of position descriptions to position objectives, use by supervisors of mid and end-term comments, the extent to which the need for performance and/or skills training was identified and whether there were different outcomes for male and female staff. Results of this analysis are yet to be drawn together but where relevant will be incorporated into future EEO strategies.

Aptitude Testing

Testing procedures for trainees from designated groups recruited under the Australian Traineeship System were reviewed prior to this year's intake. People with disabilities were interviewed to determine an appropriate assessment process. Adjustments such as enlarging test material and scheduling special sessions for people with hearing impairments were undertaken. Efforts were also made to test Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants as a single group. On completion of the Traineeship, the trainees were tested to determine their level of clerical aptitude; again appropriate adjustments were made.

Vacant Positions

The Bank's policy relating to transfer of staff at the same level into newly created positions was re examined during the year.

The Bank decided that all newly created classified positions should be advertised and filled by the normal merit selection process.

Collection of EEO Data

The form currently used to collect EEO data from new employees was reviewed to improve the capture of data, and to explain the basis for collecting it.

Selection and Appeal Procedures

Revised procedures setting out the rights and responsibilities of staff in selection and appeals processes were developed during the year and incorporated into the Staff Handbook. One change involved the removal of appeal rights from applicants forsenior management positions; the Bank had been one of the last public sector bodies retaining such a provision. As a separate matter, the training of designated group members for participation on selection panels was given increased emphasis during the year.

Medical Guidelines

Following introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act (1992), it was decided to review the Bank's medical guidelines for pre-employment testing. New guidelines which will focus on the inherent requirements of positions, are expected to be introduced in the near future.

Exit Interviews

Exit interviews were offered to all permanent staff who resigned during the period under review. Information from these, in conjunction with length of service, gender, age, employment level and location, has been analysed to help identify reasons for resignation.


In 1992/93, the Bank spent the equivalent of about 5% of its salaries and wages bill on eligible training expenditure, an increase from 3.8% in the previous year.

Graph Showing Study Assistance

During this period, 185 staff members received study assistance for courses approved by the Bank; of these, nine males and one female attended overseas courses. 41% of those receiving study assistance were women.

A booklet outlining development opportunities was circulated to staff during the year. Major overseas development courses are now advertised to staff at large and expressions of interest invited.

Following a survey to determine training/development needs of women in supervisory and middle management positions, non-residential supervision courses were developed and offered during the year, including one designed to meet the needs of women working part-time contiguous with maternity leave. A non-residential management level course is also being planned.

Options for single gender training for women in non-supervisory positions and in supervisory/middle management positions have also been examined. Five women participated in Springboard, a career/personal development program conducted for organisations in the Finance Sector.

When training occurs in areas with high concentrations of NESB staff, special needs including cross-cultural issues are taken into account to ensure full participation of all staff. An extended program of cross-cultural awareness training was developed in response to a specific request from one area of operation. Strategies and self-help programs developed during the training are being monitored for effectiveness on an ongoing basis.

During the year, the Bank also participated in a research project undertaken by the Australian Centre for Industrial Relations, Research and Teaching on gender issues in training.

At NPA, a number of training initiatives have been undertaken, with a focus on the acquisition of skills, the broadening of opportunities, and the development of improved workplace flexibility. Specific programs included: an Injury Management Program, conducted in conjunction with Comcare; a Guillotine Training Program, to enable non-trade staff to operate machines that had previously been part of a trade-based area; skills training for staff in the Food Service area; information sessions for female staff on personal protection and security awareness; and introduction of a Quality Awareness Program to encourage staff innovation and pride in quality.


The Bank's Grievance Authority met on 14 occasions in 1992/93 in response to 11 complaints lodged by staff. Four complaints related to the Bank's decision not to pay a performance related increment, three to decisions to terminate employment with the Bank, one to treatment during the restructure, one to selection procedures, one to placement on return from maternity leave and one to working relationships.

Recommendations relating to the role of grievance officers, their selection and training were finalised during the year.

NPA operates a separate Grievance Authority which was not required to respond to any grievances in this reporting period.

Prevention of Harassment

All managers were informed of changes to the sexual harassment provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act and awareness sessions for staff on prevention of harassment were conducted in some branches.

In addition, the Bank purchased the new training kit on sexual harassment developed by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, to help form the basis of information sessions for supervisors and managers.


The Bank operates its own superannuation fund for permanent employees. As a result of changes to the Sex Discrimination Act, the rules of the fund were examined to ensure that they remained consistent with the law. No changes to the rules or to the operation of the fund were found to be necessary.

Flexible Work Arrangements

The Bank has continued to examine options for extending flexible work. Some enhancement to existing arrangements was provided by the introduction during the year of an extended span of hours, which, combined with the existing option of a shorter lunch period, will assist some staff to better meet work and family responsibilities.

The development of further initiatives on part-time work remains underconsideration. Although a decision was taken during the year – largely on efficiency grounds – not to proceed with a model of staff-initiated job sharing, work has proceeded to refine other models of permanent and temporary part-time work. In developing revised organisation structures and in thinking about the redesign of jobs, managers have been asked to consider carefully the scope for increasing the number of part-time positions.

During the course of the year, some part-time female staff at NPA were offered the opportunity to change their hours of work to assist them in more easily meeting their work and family commitments.

Parental Leave

During 1992/93 fifty three women returned to either full or part-time work after parental leave, and nineteen women resigned directly from parental leave; four men took unpaid parental leave. Following a successful pilot program last year, two Returning to Work Workshops were conducted in Head Office for twenty-three women who resumed work after parental leave.

Graph Showing Women: Parental Leave

A database to manage information on staff on parental leave and to improve communication with staff on leave, was developed during the year by the Bank's Sydney branch. Because of the relatively few vacancies available after the restructuring process, some difficulty was experienced in placing into substantive positions women returning from parental leave. Further work will be undertaken over the next twelve months to determine whether changes to existing policies are necessary.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment

A review of recruitment for Aboriginal trainees was undertaken to maximise the applicant pool and streamline the process. Three of the 15 trainees accepted by the Bank in 1992/93 were Aboriginal.

Draft guidelines to cover general employment and traineeship issues were also developed. These cover all aspects of the recruitment process and include strategies aimed at retention of Aboriginal staff.

The Bank has continued to be an active member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Network. Visits to Aboriginal careers days at educational institutions occurred during the yearwith the aim of attracting potential applicants for traineeships and other general vacancies.

The Bank also responded to requests for information on behalf of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission about activities or initiatives undertaken as part of the International Year of the World's Indigenous People.

People with Disabilities

As reported last year, specific steps were taken to recruit a person with a disability as part of the Bank's general traineeship intake. On completion of the traineeship, the trainee was offered a permanent position with the Bank. Prior to this year's intake of trainees, the recruitment process for trainees with disabilities was also reviewed.

Following the purchase in 1992 of telephone typewriters (TTY) to help hearing impaired staff and enable hearing impaired people to contact the Bank, training sessions for users of the system were conducted. The majority of externally advertised vacancies now include the Bank's TTY number.

Work experience was provided in Head Office during the year for a person with a disability under the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service work training scheme. In the branches, a person with an intellectual disability was employed on a part-time basis. Discussions were also held with representatives from an organisation that places, trains and supports people with intellectual disabilities and work is in progress to identify suitable positions prior to possible recruitment.

People from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds

Twenty-eight staff from Sydney branch participated in a Cross-Cultural Communications Course aimed at providing a greater understanding of cultural differences that impact on the communication process. A Cross-Cultural Seminar was also conducted for one of the Head Office departments.

Some service areas of the Bank, particularly in Head Office have a high representation of staff from non-English speaking backgrounds and particular effort was made during the past year to ensure that the contribution of these staff is acknowledged. Staff in the Food Services areas were involved in a strategic planning exercise to emphasise the contribution and value of each individual.

Information on external courses to improve English language skills was collected and will be made available to interested staff.

Section 6(g): Setting Objectives and Selecting Indicators

A new two-year EEO plan for 1993–95, which seeks to place greater emphasis on line management responsibilities for EEO, has been developed. The objectives of the plan cover the main areas of personnel responsibility: staff selection; training; staff development; performance appraisal; and conditions of employment. Included in the plan are a number of indicators of progress which monitor access to opportunities for women and staff in designated groups.

Indicators currently used to analyse EEO data were examined to ensure continued relevance and accuracy. Additional indicators include data for formal transfer of officers, attrition rates, job applications, outcomes for graduate and traineeship positions as well as the impact of voluntary redundancy and early retirement offers made since 1988. As indicated earlier, the reporting of EEO data, particularly in occupational categories is also under review to determine the most effective format for analysing progress made by EEO groups.

Section 6(h): Monitoring and Evaluation

The Bank's third two-year plan was evaluated for its effectiveness and to determine the ongoing relevance of the Plan's objectives. Whilst a number of the strategies had been successfully implemented, it was noted that despite a move toward decentralised decision making on personnel issues generally, most of the activities had been undertaken by the Bank's Personnel Department. Also apparent was a lack of understanding in some areas of the Bank of the need to undertake a variety of approaches, as opposed to “treating everyone the same”, when attempting to overcome disadvantage. The evaluation identified a number of areas requiring further action, which the new plan attempts to address.

In particular, in developing the fourth plan, regard has been paid to the need for improved decentralisation in implementing the various objectives, and the need to encourage greater line management “ownership” of EEO initiatives.

Evaluation of EEO progress and the identification of longer term trends continues to be made difficult by on-going restructuring in the Bank. During the past twelve months, functional areas and individual branches have continued to refine their structures with further voluntary redundancy offers being made to staff in certain areas.

Despite this, some changes to the relative positions of staff represented in the EEO Groups can be seen from the statistics set out in Appendices 2 and 3.

  • Since the EEO Survey in 1987, staff numbers have fallen by over 35%. During that time, 798 staff have left the Bank under voluntary redundancy or early retirement offers. Of these, 30% were women.
  • There has been a slight increase in the representation of women in supervisory and middle management positions. However, there are no women at present in senior executive positions in the Bank. Of salaried officers at Level 3 or below, 67% are women.
  • There has been little or no change in the overall representation of people from non-English speaking backgrounds, people with disabilities or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. An increase in representation of staff whose parents are from non-English speaking backgrounds is noted at Level 3.
  • Within occupational group categories, women have increased their representation in the Clerical/Administration category – the main promotional stream in the Bank. Female representation in the Service/Technical area has fallen.
  • Since 1987 there has been a small increase in the representation of people from non-English speaking backgrounds in the three occupational groups within the Bank, and a small decrease in the proportion of staff with disabilities.
  • Of the total staff recruited in 1992/93 (excluding NPA) 42% were women compared with 47% in the previous year. Women constituted 57% of the staff who accepted redundancy offers, resigned or retired in 1992/93.
  • During the year, 81 staff were promoted, a significant decrease from 298 in the previous year; this reflected the completion of a major phase of the restructuring process. Women received 42% of the promotions, which is consistent with 1989 figures but lower than immediate past years.
  • The number of women returning to work on a part-time basis after parental leave has continued to increase since this option was extended in 1990. Significantly less women resigned directly from maternity leave.
  • Data on formal transfer at the same level have been included in this year's Report for the first time. Such transfers can be a means of broadening skills and enhancing future career opportunities. Of the 57 officers transferred during 1992/93, 35% were women.
  • A significant increase in representation of women at Band 2 at NPA is noted. However, as in other areas of the Bank, women are concentrated at the lower levels, with 95% of women classified at Band 3 or below compared to 79% of men.

Overall, in the six years since the introduction of EEO programs in the Bank, people management policies have been refined so that outcomes can be achieved which are based on merit and equity. As well, a number of positive and specific initiatives are being taken within the Bank to help ensure that women and people in designated groups are able to reach their full potential. To date, changes in the representation of the various groups has been generally in the right direction but not dramatically so. Sound personnel policies and continued attention to the development of specific EEO strategies should help ensure successful change.