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How is the trading of conditions for other entitlements treated under the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018 (the Policy)?

The Policy allows agencies and employees to trade existing enterprise agreement conditions for new conditions in a new enterprise agreement. This facilitates an agreement reflecting conditions that best suits the needs of the agency and its employees.

Trade-offs must be approved by the APS Commissioner. Proposed trade-offs must be cost neutral, provide a measurable benefit to the agency and be consistent with the Policy and its objectives.

Why a trade-off model?

Employees of Commonwealth agencies enjoy generous benefits additional to their base salary, including generous personal carer’s leave, parental leave and superannuation entitlements. Relative to community and Government expectations, the introduction of new entitlements, or changes to existing entitlements, should not result in increased costs or obligations for the Commonwealth.

Trading-off conditions enables employees to bargain for the introduction of, or expansion to, a condition or conditions that better suit their needs, in exchange for conditions that are currently provided for by their enterprise agreement.

Does the APSC have a list of approved conditions that can be traded?

Agencies are encouraged to bargain with employees to reach agreements that best suit both parties’ needs. Bargaining occurs at an agency level and each agency’s bargaining circumstances will be different. As a result, the specific circumstances surrounding a proposed trade-off and the individual business case provided by the agency will inform the APS Commissioner’s approval decision.

An example of a trade-off that may be considered for approval by the APS Commissioner is as follows:

Increase in hours worked per week.


Introduction of Christmas closedown/shutdown period.

What can’t be traded?

Trade-offs must be reasonable, at least cost neutral, be either quantifiable or otherwise robustly established to be of a similar value and conform to longstanding bargaining policies and practices.  Trade-offs resulting in changes to baseline pay or superannuation will not be considered, in keeping with the community’s expectations of appropriate terms and conditions for Commonwealth employment.

Last reviewed: 
19 February 2020