Tony Abbott's jobs freeze doesn't stop public service recruiting

Government departments have been quietly given the green light to recruit or keep some of their temporary and casual workers, despite the Abbott government's hiring freeze.

The Public Service's workplace authority has confirmed that bosses of eight agencies and departments have pleaded for the jobs of the casuals and temps and that some of them have been given permission to hire.

There were fears for the public service's 14,000 temporary workers - many of whom are women, low-paid or junior employees - when the freeze on renewing their jobs was announced in November.

The Australian Public Service Commission would not say which departments were hiring, but Fairfax Media understands the Taxation Office, which relies heavily on temps, has led the rush for approval for new workers. The Tax Office refused to give details of its situation, but the Commonwealth Public Service Union said the latest development proved departments could not cope with the cuts expected by the Abbott government.

Under the ''interim arrangements'' for public service recruitment, any hirings, or renewal of temporary jobs, have to be approved by the Public Service Commission.

The commission's employment policy chief, Owen Livermore, said the bosses of eight agencies had made pitches to either keep their temps or hire new ones.

Mr Livermore said the requests were not stretching the commission's resources and that not every single ''non-ongoing'' job had to be ticked off by his office.

''The APSC has received requests from eight agencies to maintain intermittent and irregular non-ongoing employees as part of their work force to assist meeting peak and variable workloads,'' he said.

Mr Livermore said that some of the departments had already been granted approval. ''I can inform you that agency requests are being processed gradually and where approved, agencies are already undertaking the endorsed recruitment activity,'' he said.

A Tax Office spokeswoman said: ''We're still working through arrangements for temporary and non-ongoing staff in 2014 and cannot provide further details. Any staff employed will be done so on a needs basis and we will work with the APSC to comply with interim APS recruitment arrangements.''

Public Service Union assistant national secretary Louise Persse said the move by the agencies proved the government was making policy on the run. ''The very agencies that were told they had to shed staff have been given permission to go out and rehire them,'' she said.

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The story Tony Abbott's jobs freeze doesn't stop public service recruiting first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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