Equal Employment Opportunity Annual Report – 2000 Initiatives Undertaken & Review of Policies and Practices

EEO initiatives undertaken by the Bank during the year are described below. They are grouped in the following areas: departmental EEO plans; staff selection; career development & staff training; conditions of employment; and collection of statistics. Progress on the Bank's Disability Action Plan is also described.

Review of EEO Plan Reports

All departments submitted their third and final progress reports under the 1997–2000 EEO Plan.

Difficulties encountered during implementation of the plan included: reduced recruitment opportunities; the impact of restructuring and redundancies; and the increase in short-term project-based work which limits opportunities for the development of supervisory skills.

Initiatives taken over the last year included: the approval of job sharing, part-time and other flexible work arrangements; the use of rotation, multi-skilling and mentoring to enhance skill development; the accommodation of staff with disabilities; and staff attendance at disability awareness training. A significant benefit from the introduction of flexible work arrangements has been the increase in the number of women returning from parental leave this year.

Staff Selection

Under the EEO Plan a key objective is to ensure that openness and fairness are observed at all stages of the selection process.

Managers are required to annually review position descriptions.

Prior to advertising a position, the Bank reviews the knowledge and skill specifications on the position description to ensure that they reflect the inherent job requirements. Managers are required to annually review position descriptions for their area, prior to the commencement of each appraisal cycle.

Graduate recruitment is increasingly the predominant avenue of entry to the Bank and promotional material was further refined to encourage applications from all EEO groups. Talks by female and male staff to university and school students and Economics teachers also raised the profile of the Bank as an employer. The campaign this year targeted applicants through many avenues, including universities, which, like the Bank, use the internet to reach as many students as possible. In particular, it is regarded as an effective way to reach graduates with disabilities. Discussions were held with the Career Services at universities which also ensure students with disabilities are aware of employment opportunities. A new computer database, developed for tracking the progress of each graduate application, assists in monitoring the main EEO groups through the selection process. In addition to graduate recruitment, the Bank has a cadetship program which provides financial support through the final Honours year at university and paid work experience.

The Traineeship Program was expanded.

The Bank continued to support the Government's Traineeship Program, which provides an opportunity to combine on-the-job skills development and the attainment of a post-secondary qualification over a 12 month period. The program was expanded this year by the inclusion of two specialist trainee positions in IT and print design. In order to broaden the pool of candidates, various sources were used, including agencies, secondary schools, TAFE colleges, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander publications and agencies targeting people with disabilities. In addition to the traineeship, the Bank provided work experience to 18 school students over the year.

To maintain equity and merit-based selection in promotion decisions, the Bank provided information and training for selection panel members. To further enhance the effectiveness of this process, minor amendments were made to the Bank's Selection Panel Guidelines and the Selection Procedures in the Bank's Staff Handbook.

As part of the Productivity Bargaining Agreement 1999–2000, changes to selection procedures were agreed to allow staff on contract to be considered xzfor appointment to permanent vacancies, provided they have worked in the Bank for 18 months and meet other requirements applying to permanent staff. Around 20% of the Bank's staff are on contract.

Following the abolition of the Promotions Board of Review in July 1999, several procedural improvements were introduced to selection processes to guard against discrimination and patronage. These include the use of a Personnel Policy representative on all panels (including those meeting interstate), a requirement that a second panel member be chosen from a list provided by Personnel Policy Department, and finally, a requirement for the relevant Assistant Governor to confer with the Head of Personnel Policy where a panel decision is not unanimous. Briefing sessions were held with managers across the Bank on these new processes.

During the year an analysis was done of the skills ratings of staff to determine if the rating scale was being used in a consistent way by supervisors across the Bank. Individual's ratings are made available to selection panels to assist in their decision making. The analysis indicated that there were no significant variations between departments which would unfairly disadvantage staff.

Career Development & Staff Training

It is important that staff are aware of, and have equal access to appropriate training and development opportunities.

Supervisors are encouraged to assess their employees' training and development needs throughout the performance appraisal process.

The EEO Plan progress reports provided by departments include items on developing staff through formal training courses, assistance with external study, job rotation, acting in higher graded positions and external secondments.

Supervisors are encouraged to assess their employees' training and development needs throughout the performance appraisal process and to agree on appropriate action. During the year a review was done of completed appraisals and discussions were held with departments to emphasise the importance of providing performance feedback at the mid-term review stage and including training goals, where appropriate, in plans for the future.

Comprehensive in-house training is available to all staff via a number of avenues: the classroom; one-on-one; the Self Paced Learning Centre (SPLC); and the Bank's intranet. The directory of Bank-provided training courses was updated during the year and made available to all staff electronically via the PC network. Work continued during the year on improving intranet access to the training directory and making it more user-friendly.

Staff are now able to access a wider range of development courses, in particular a full range of PC software application training, but also courses in performance management, supervision, leadership and business writing. PC software training is available to staff via the intranet and also in the SPLC where training staff are on hand to provide assistance if required. The range of materials available in the Bank's SPLC was broadened during the year. The flexibility of self-paced learning has provided all staff with a range of options for development which can be organised around work or home commitments. This has proven to be of particular assistance to new recruits and people returning to work following extended leave, such as women returning from parental leave.

The in-house Management Development Program was run during the year. Of the 13 participants 5 were women.

Disability Awareness workshops were conducted during the year in support of the Bank's Disability Action Plan. These initially focussed on raising awareness of the need of members of the public with disabilities who may contact the Bank for information. However the workshops generated broader interest, with over 35 staff participating. As a result the program's focus was widened to include the objective of fostering among staff an understanding of the nature of disability, its diversity and its impact.

A program in English as a Second Language (ESL) continued this year. One-on-one coaching is provided for staff from non-English speaking backgrounds requiring assistance with business language and writing skills.

All the Bank's courses are available to staff on a non-residential basis, if required, to accommodate those with dependent care or other after-hours responsibilities.

The Bank regularly sends participants to a range of external courses in Australia and overseas. Information on Springboard, a professional development course for non-managerial women, was sent to department heads to encourage participation where appropriate.

Conditions of Employment

The Bank's EEO Plan has the objective of ensuring that personnel practices and policies are fair and equitable and assist in the retention of valued staff. A number of issues were reviewed over the year.

Part-time work for six months will be guaranteed upon return from parental leave.

Parental Leave

Changes to parental leave arrangements were agreed as part of the Productivity Bargaining Agreement 1999–2000. For staff commencing leave from 1 January 2000, the maximum absence for parenting purposes was reduced to 12 months. The aim of this change is to improve the retention rate and career development opportunities of female employees. Upon return from parental leave, the employee will be guaranteed a minimum of six-months' part-time work in their position or another comparable position. Additional part-time work may be granted under temporary part-time work arrangements.

Under these new arrangements, staff will be eligible to apply and be considered for advertised vacant positions without the requirement to resume work prior to the end of the 12 month parental leave period.

Half-Day Leave

The Bank has had carer's leave in its current form (minimum 1 day) since 1996. This year, after reviewing a six month trial of half-day carer's leave, the Bank agreed to continue the option permanently. In addition, the Bank commenced a trial of permitting other leave types on a half-day basis. This covers rostered days, annual leave and sick leave. This trial concludes in October 2000.

Half-day carer's leave was continued as a permanent option. A trial of other half-day leave types commenced.

Job Sharing

A two-year trial of job sharing concluded during the year and the Bank agreed to include job sharing as a permanent flexible work arrangement. A central register was established for interested parties.

Time Off in Lieu of Overtime Payment

Also as part of the Productivity Bargaining Agreement 1999–2000 the Bank trialed time off in lieu of payment of overtime. It has been agreed to implement this on a permanent basis as a flexible work option for staff.

These developments affirm the Bank's commitment to providing staff additional flexibility in balancing their work and outside commitments.

Performance Pay

Performance pay outcomes in 1999 were monitored in relation to functional areas, classification levels and EEO groups. The results indicated that the overall performance pay outcome was equitable, in terms of the Bank's guidelines. These results were published for staff.

Junior Salary Rates

Currently the Bank has a junior salary scale which applies to all staff recruited below the age of 21. Under the current Productivity Bargaining Agreement 1999–2000 it was agreed to review the need for the junior scale. The Bank and the Union have agreed to maintain existing junior rates for the time being, following the 1999 AIRC review of this issue. As at 30 June 2000 there were 8 staff on the junior salary scale. The appraisal scheme for juniors allows for accelerated progression to adult rates of pay in cases of outstanding performance.

Salary Sacrifice for Child Care & Superannuation

During the life of the Productivity Bargaining Agreement 1999–2000 the Bank agreed to explore the feasibility of introducing salary sacrifice arrangements for superannuation and child care fees. The review aims to identify any benefits to the Bank and staff, the legal and tax requirements, and the administrative implications. This review is still in progress and will be decided by end 2000.

Work Performed from Home (Telecommuting)

Under the Productivity Bargaining Agreement 1999–2000, the Bank agreed to review the procedures and practices of other employers to assess the benefits of telecommuting for the Bank and staff. This review is still in progress.

Handling Grievances

A network of Grievance Contact Officers (GCOs) has been in place for the last four years to assist with the resolution of workplace grievances. A number of new GCOs were appointed during the year and provided with one-on-one training on their responsibilities. Refresher training for all GCOs is planned for the year ahead to ensure that their skills and knowledge remain up-to-date. GCOs provide advice for staff as to available options regarding grievance issues; they are not involved in the investigation of grievances, which remains the responsibility of managers.

If workplace resolution is unsuccessful, staff can take the grievance to the Bank's Grievance Authority, which is an internal Bank body with an independent chairperson. No matters were lodged with the Grievance Authority during the year.

Recognition of Same Sex Couples

During the year, the Bank amended its definition of ‘de facto spouse’ to include same sex partners. This amendment had the effect of extending spouse benefits to employees in same sex relationships. These benefits include home loan finance and spouse travel arrangements.

The Bank amended its definition of ‘de facto spouse’ to include same sex partners.

Exit Interviews

In order to identify employment issues requiring attention, all resigning staff are invited to complete an exit interview. The exit interview form was updated during the year and prepared for online distribution to facilitate completion prior to an employee's departure. An analysis was done of completed forms to illustrate emerging trends, and aggregate data was provided to relevant areas. Where the resigning employee agrees, the completed form is returned to the relevant area.

Collection of Statistics

The initial comprehensive staff survey for EEO purposes was conducted in 1987. The two main objectives of the survey were to give the Bank an accurate staff profile to assist in developing the Bank's EEO program and to provide a statistical “starting point” for monitoring subsequent changes. Since then the EEO profile has been kept up-to-date by the voluntary completion of an EEO form upon entry to the Bank.

The value of conducting a second EEO survey was discussed by the EEO Policy Committee during the year. The Committee felt that the benefits of a further survey at this time would be marginal.

Disability Action Plan

The Bank developed its first Disability Action Plan in 1999. The plan aims to identify potential and existing discriminatory practices and enables the Bank to set a schedule of steps for the removal of barriers to people with disabilities. The plan covers the areas of service delivery, accessibility of buildings, communication, employment practices and education and training.

Since the inception of the plan, two meetings have been held by the Disability Action Plan Committee. Major initiatives achieved under the plan include: improvement of access to the Bank's web site for those with sight disabilities; introduction of training sessions on communicating effectively with people with disabilities; and implementation of building access improvement plans to minimise physical barriers for people with disabilities.