The Tasmanian Government has an early retirement incentive scheme known as the Workforce Renewal Incentive Program (WRIP).
The initial intention of the program was to address the issue of an aging workforce by encouraging long serving employees in professional roles to retire early, so recent graduates could fill their positions. In essence, the WRIP is a cash incentive program to encourage employees to leave permanent Tasmanian State Service employment and enable the following:
- re-profile the position; or
- renew and/or re-profile the demographic/skill set of the occupational group; or
- enable an “Identified employee” to be assigned or transferred to those duties.
Before an agency (e.g. the DoE) can offer a WRIP, the State Service Management Office must approve its program. The business case that must be submitted to have the program approved must detail how positions made vacant through the WRIP program will be filled.
WRIP payments are based on an employee’s total continuous full-time equivalent employment, with years of service multiplied by $1 000. The minimum payment is $1 000 and the maximum payment is $30 000. WRIP payments may be negotiated outside of this arrangement provided that:
- the payment does not exceed $30 000; and
- the business case justifies:
- the overall benefit to the agency;
- that consistency within the agency has been applied; and
- the discussions that have taken place with the employee in determining the final payment.
If you have been offered a WRIP payment, AEUTas recommends that you obtain independent superannuation, financial and taxation advice. The DoE must provide a minimum of 21 calendar days for you to seek this advice and make a decision whether or not to accept the offer of the WRIP payment. You are able to make a request to extend this period if you can demonstrate that genuine attempts have not been successful in obtaining appropriate advice. Once the WRIP is accepted, the DoE must allow you 14 calendar days to separate from your employment.
Upon accepting a WRIP payment you are entitled to receive payment for any accrued and unused recreation leave and long service leave. These leave entitlement payments do not form part of your WRIP payment.
If you accept a WRIP payment, you must agree to not seek or accept any employment with the Crown for a period of 12 months from the date of separation from employment. This includes any relief teaching work, however after the 12-month exclusion period you are free to seek relief work.
It is important to note that a WRIP is not a redundancy program. When a WRIP is offered, the position is re-profiled, renewed and/or filled by an identified employee. A redundancy results in the role and functions of that position no longer being performed. As a WRIP isn’t a redundancy it is taxed normally. You’d need individual financial advice but most staff accepting a WRIP would pay about a third of it in tax.
Recently, there has been a WRIP program specifically targeting the Department of Education. A number of members have received WRIPs under this scheme, however this targeted scheme has now ended (as of April 11th 2016) and employees can only access applications to WRIPs at a point in time when the DoE opens and advertises a new round of applications/offers. The AEU is also aware that staff who have already indicated they will retire and then apply for a WRIP have been rejected.