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:
- 300 Ministerial staff
- 100 Parliamentary party staff (leaders office, research units, whips office)
- 90 Executive Secretaries
- 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.