MPs staff

September 8th, 2008 at 8:00 am by David Farrar

Some interesting answers to a series of parliamentary questions asked by Rodney Hide. Staff who work directly for an MP have a near unique clause in the employment contract which allows them to be dismissed for “irreconcilable differences” or a “breakdown in relationship” regardless of who is at fault. This recognises that an MP’s Office could not function with a a staffer an MP does not have total confidence in.  The staff tends to get three months salary if they lose their job under that provision.

The Speaker has confirmed that during this term of Parliament, 12 staff have lost their jobs under this clause. Now this applies to the 93 MPs who are not Ministers, so that that means around one in eight MPs have had a fall out with a staffer resulting in a job loss.

The total cost of payouts has been $117,561. This is on top of any personal grievance settlements.

Also of interest, one MP has been careless enough to have two staff terminated under this process.

And over the last three years, there have been three formal complaints of bullying from an MP against a staff member.

Incidentially the upcoming election means that hundreds of staff will lose their jobs, approx:

  1. 300 Ministerial staff
  2. 100 Parliamentary party staff (leaders office, research units, whips office)
  3. 90 Executive Secretaries
  4. 190 Electorate Agents

Many will get rehired, but there are no guarantees. Even if the MP you work for keeps their job, they are under no obligation to rehire you, and you only get a months payout.

UPDATE: Dom Post has a story also.

5 Responses to “MPs staff”

  1. pacman (33 comments) says:

    You have to love the fact that the govt can’t abide by the laws we are forced to follow. They won’t let us have a 90 day probationary period but they have a 3 year “no-fault” one.

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  2. goodgod (1,347 comments) says:

    Wowee, three months payout? If every employer was held to that clause, imagine how much attention they’d have to pay to hiring the right people. On one hand, well resourced employers would make better hiring choices and put extra effort into sorting out interpersonal problems they might otherwise be tempted to ignore. This might have a positive effect on the productivity of their business. On the other hand, industries that historically attract high staff turnover, or employers who are not so equipt in interpersonal skills would have their businesses financially torn apart pretty rapidly. Sounds a bit extreme and based in ideaology that ignores the amount of time it takes to becomed skilled in managing people. National’s 90 day probation period seems like a sensible halfway point compared to that. The only way you’d be able to afford paying everyone out was if you had access to unlimited funds – like if you were in government. Unfortunately, having unlimited funds doesn’t encourage the payee to get any better at managing the problem.

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  3. Rex Widerstrom (5,113 comments) says:

    Start taking bets, DPF, you’ll make a fortune 🙂 I think the DomPost have probably contaminated the pool by identifying Winston as the repeat offender, but I’d still put some money down the redoubtable Ron Mark, bully (and, not surprisingly, coward) extraordinaire.

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  4. gd (1,870 comments) says:

    More bullshit The same applies to any working relationship This is yet another case of the 2 faced arseholes and arseholesses making one rule for them and another for the long suffering tax payer.

    How the hell anbody would work for most of them amazes me Some people obviously have a very low level of self esteem. I wouldnt employ most of the MPs to put the rubblish out let alone anything important.

    They are a bunch of pandered to and pampered nobodies inhabiting their own planet far removed from Earth

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  5. PhilBest (4,978 comments) says:

    Pacman, GD, hear, hear. Richard Prebble I think, in one of his books pointed out that it is a good idea to look at what MP’s do for themselves in contrast to the rules they make for the rest of us.

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