Staff secondment procedure

Intent and objectives

Secondments provide development opportunities that benefit both the individual staff member and the University. This procedure provides information to staff and managers on how to manage secondments of staff within RMIT University or to an external organisation.


Fixed term and continuing staff members.


Casual staff and agency staff.

Procedure steps and actions




Identifying secondment opportunities

A secondment opportunity can arise when:

  • work units need to replace staff for a fixed term period
  • staffing for additional fixed term projects cannot be found from within existing staff
  • an external organisation seeks a fixed term appointment from RMIT University

Staff members are selected for secondment through a recruitment process which needs to be in line with the Recruitment and induction policy and the Staffing Delegations Schedule.

Manager / staff member

Giving approval

The manager of the secondment must obtain the agreement of the staff member’s manager of the substantive position to release the staff member on a secondment before formally offering the secondment to the staff member.

Where appropriate, a staff member should be released from their work area to take up a secondment, particularly if the secondment supports development for the individual and the University.

Staff member/ manager of the substantive position/ new manager

Managing internal secondments:

Higher Duties for less than three months

Short-term secondments to a higher position of less than three months are managed as Higher Duties. The manager of the substantive position needs to complete and approve a ‘Higher Duties Allowance form’ in line with the Staffing Delegations Schedule.

Secondments over three months

Internal secondments to another position for over three months are managed as a contract variation.

The new manager needs to complete and approve an ‘Appointment Approval form’ in line with the Staffing Delegation Schedule and send it to Human Resources with a current Position Description for the seconded position.

Written evidence that the manager of the substantive position has approved the secondment must be provided to Human Resources before the contract variation is issued.

Human Resources/ manager of the substantive position/ new manager

Before secondment

Managing external secondments

A written secondment agreement needs to be prepared, recorded in writing and signed by the staff member, RMIT and the external organisation. The agreement will outline the terms and conditions, including:

1) a start and end date of the secondment

2) objectives of the secondment, including the development objectives for the staff member and the staff member’s agreement to those objectives

3) payment arrangements to apply, including responsibility for on-costs, such as payroll tax, Work Cover levy, leave and leave loadings, superannuation (employer contribution) and other administrative costs

4) leave arrangements (annual leave, sick leave, long-service leave and parental leave), including which organisation is responsible for paying salary during leave

5) conditions of how the secondment agreement may be terminated

A copy of the agreement should be signed and kept by representatives from the University, the external organisation and the staff member.

A copy of the signed agreement must be sent to Human Resources and placed on the staff member’s personal file.

Secondments for less than six months

For an external secondment of less than six months it may be appropriate for RMIT to continue paying the staff member and then recover the salary and on-costs.

Secondments over six months

Where a secondment to an external organisation is for more than six months, the external organisation pays the staff member. The staff member is put on ‘Leave without pay’ from RMIT.

Recognition of service

The University will recognise service between certain approved institutions and authorities, for the purposes of long service leave and sick leave credits in accordance with the Leave policy.


If the staff member continues to be paid by RMIT, RMIT pays the superannuation employer contribution and recovers these as on-costs.

If the staff member is being paid by the external organisation, the external organization should also pay the employer superannuation contributions. These arrangements will be recorded in the secondment agreement.

If a staff member chooses to make employee superannuation contributions, they should make arrangements with the external organisation to deduct such contributions from their pay.

External organisation/ staff member/ manager of the substantive position and Human Resources

Before secondment

Managing secondments


The usual principles of induction apply to the secondee.


The secondment needs to be detailed in the staff member’s development plan.

The secondment duties also need to be incorporated in the staff member’s work plan (where the secondment is internal).

For a short secondment of up to six months, the manager of the substantive position is responsible for the secondee’s annual work plan and staff development. If the secondment is for more than six months, responsibility is transferred to the new manager, unless different arrangements are negotiated. In this case the arrangement should be noted in writing.

It is the new manager’s responsibility to update the manager of the substantive position about any changes to the secondment arrangement. This includes any proposal to change the length of the secondment or to offer a further secondment period. Both managers need to agree on any changes to the secondment.


At the end of the secondment, the secondee will review progress against the recorded objectives of the secondment with the new manager and their substantive manager. Both managers will conduct work plan reviews as appropriate.

Manager of the substantive position/ New manager

At the beginning of secondment/ ongoing

Termination of the secondment

All staff members will revert to their substantive classifications at the end of their secondments.

If there are valid reasons, the secondment can be terminated by either the staff member or the new manager by

  • giving six weeks written notice (internal secondment) or
  • as per the recorded agreement (external secondment)

Six weeks or as per agreement

Returning from secondment

It is the manager of the substantive position’s responsibility to contact the staff member at least six weeks before the end of the secondment. This is to arrange the return from secondment to the substantive position or to another position at the substantive classification.

In some cases, staff may need to relinquish their substantive position. If so, on return to RMIT the work unit is obliged to place the staff member in a suitable position at their substantive classification and salary.

Normal salary incremental progression will apply.

Manager of the substantive position

Minimum six weeks prior to the end of the secondment

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