The government and the main public sector union have finally broken the impasse over an employment agreement covering parliamentary staffers, with staff voting in favour of a deal that will give them a minor pay bump.
A ballot for the new workplace agreement was undertaken by parliamentary staff on Friday afternoon and passed with 52.4 per cent voting yes to the new conditions.
Nearly 1800 staff, or 83.3 per cent of the workforce, voted for or against the conditions, marking the highest participation for an agreement ballot in at least 20 years.
The agreement will mean the wages of staff working for senators and members of parliament will increase seven days after it's lodged with the Fair Work Commission.
Senior staff will get an increase of 0.4 per cent, advisers, media advisers and assistant advisers will receive a 1.15 per cent bump while electorate officers and other personal employees will increase by 1.7 per cent.
Future maximum wage increases will be in line with the wage price index after the government's announcement last November to cap public sector wages with the private sector.
Staff will also now have access to additional leave for those experiencing family and domestic violence and breaks for breastfeeding parents.
Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Melissa Donnelly said it would continue to push the government for further safety measures for staff working within Parliament in light of recent events.
"CPSU members achieved a range of important conditions in this round of bargaining, including access to miscellaneous leave for staff experiencing family and domestic violence, increased supporting partner leave, lactation breaks, a miscarriage definition in keeping with Commonwealth standards, and improvements to electorate staff allowance," Ms Donnelly said.
"CPSU members will continue to advocate for safer workplaces through the Jenkins review, and will hold the government to account on its safety promises."
The agreement comes after nearly two years of tense discussions between the parties, including a recent spat after a proposal to redraft a health and safety clause that would address the workplace's asymmetrical power structures was knocked back.
The union's proposal would have forced the government to recognise "unique risks and hazards exist in the employment of Member of Parliament Staff including but not limited to the asymmetrical power structures of the workplace and obstacles that exist in reporting incidents".
Senator Birmingham said in May the government had sought to revise the proposed workplace deal's work health and safety clause to ensure appropriate support services for staff.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet deputy secretary Stephanie Foster was also reviewing interim additional supports for staff who have been part of a serious incident in the workplace, Senator Birmingham said.
"This has included the establishment of a dedicated 24/7 staff support line and ongoing work around an improved complaints handling process for workplace allegations," he said.
"We also expect the independent review being conducted by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins will consider recommending further measures to ensure a safer and more respectful parliamentary workplace."
The government's refusal to accept the union proposal followed a long-running dispute between CPSU members and the Finance Department over workplace culture.
In March, union members within Parliament House delivered an open letter, calling on the government to take action against bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault within the workplace.
It followed a number of disturbing incidents in recent months, including Ms Higgins' allegations that she had been raped in Parliament House, and reports of political staffers taking and sharing explicit images, including one who performed a sex act on a female MP's desk.
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