Frequently asked questions

Updated: 7 September 2021

Health, safety and wellbeing - COVID-19

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has worked closely with health authorities to manage the risks around COVID-19 at the next election. If you attend an Early Voting Centre or a Polling Place, you will notice changes from previous elections.

Precautionary measures have been put in place to help protect electors and polling staff, including:

  • Anyone attending a polling place will be expected to check in
  • The number of people allowed in a voting venue will comply with Health guidelines, based on the size of the venue
  • Hand sanitiser will be available at all Early Voting Centres and Polling Places
  • Voting screens, common surfaces and touch points will be cleaned regularly,
  • How-to-vote cards will not be used more than once
  • A Queue Controller will ensure the room capacity is maintained with safe queue distancing observed
  • A Hygiene Officer will also oversee that hygiene is maintained within the polling place
  • Dedicated bins will be provided on site to dispose of used PPE.
  • Signage on hygiene and physical distancing will be displayed around the polling place as well as floor markers

We are also encouraging people to bring their own pencil or pen – a big change from past elections. Pencils will be available at the Polling Place for anyone who does not bring their own. These will be sanitised after each use.

Physical distancing rules and increased cleaning may mean voting will take a little longer than normal – so make sure you plan ahead.

Health authorities advise that there is minimal risk of virus transmission from inanimate objects such as paper. The best approach is frequent hand hygiene, including the use of hand sanitiser, and trying not to touch your face with your hands.

The AEC will have hand sanitiser available for electors at all Early Voting Centres and at Polling Places.

Pay and conditions

The terms and conditions for temporary staff employed by the AEC during federal elections, by-elections, plebiscites and referendums are set out in the Collective Determination.

On election day

Most election staff working on election day are required to start around 7am and finish no later than 11pm, when all required duties are complete in the polling place (including the counting of ballot papers). It is a dynamic and fast paced work environment, which can be a mentally and physically demanding experience for some.

Before or after election day

For those who are employed to work before or after election day, the ordinary work hours are 7am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday. The length of the shift worked during these hours will vary but is generally no longer than 7.5 hours (plus breaks).

A minimum shift length that the AEC guarantees during the election is:

  • 1 hour for a day on which the employee is required to undertake training.
  • 3 hours on any day where the employee is required to perform duties.

As election staff are employed on a casual basis, the AEC will offer employment when required by the AEC.

Can I work only part day on election day?

There are positions available for Part-Day Polling Assistants where the commitment is 5 hours work on election day.

If you are employed to work:

  • on election day only - you will receive a set remuneration package according to your position that covers all hours you work for a full day, allowances and any mandatory training required for your role
  • before or after election day - you will be paid at the hourly rate assigned to your position, including 25% casual loading.

Hourly rates and remuneration packages are reviewed in the lead up to each federal electoral event, and once confirmed are set out in the Collective Determination signed by the Electoral Commissioner under section 35(3) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

It is generally expected that for employees who are employed to work only on election day, you will be paid by electronic funds transfer to your nominated bank account entered into AEC Employment within three (3) weeks of election day.

For work other than election day, your pay week is from Thursday to Wednesday and it is expected that monies will be paid to you on Monday the following week subject to prompt completion and finalisation of your timesheets.

If you are employed to work during the election period you may be entitled to overtime as per the conditions set out in Part D of the Collective Determination.

Please note that employees are paid a 25% casual loading in lieu of all paid leave, and that no casual loading will be paid for any hours which an employee is paid at overtime rates.

For advice on how payments for temporary election work may affect any government benefits you receive, please contact: Services Australia - Centrelink.

Yes. The exact amount of tax withheld for temporary employment with the AEC will depend on your individual financial circumstances.

To get a sense of the amount of tax required by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) with and without a tax-free threshold, please refer to the weekly tax table on the ATO website.

Yes, if your SMSF is compliant, the AEC can pay your super contributions into the fund. At the time you are sent an offer of employment, you may need to complete a Superannuation Choice Form (SCF) with your fund details in order for the AEC to process your super contributions to your SMSF.

A temporary employee is eligible for superannuation once their gross earnings from the AEC reach $450.00 within a calendar month. Superannuation is calculated on gross ordinary time earnings for that calendar month. Superannuation is not payable on overtime and allowances.

Superannuation funds are deposited fortnightly for Government superannuation funds and monthly for all other superannuation funds.

The AEC will pay employer superannuation contributions equivalent to the Superannuation Guarantee Contribution rate (currently 10% of the employee's ordinary time earnings).

For further details about Super, please go to: ATO- Super

Yes, you are still eligible to work. However, in order to accept your offer, you must nominate a complying superannuation fund.

If you don’t have an existing membership with a super fund, you can elect the AEC’s default fund, AustralianSuper. The AEC will process your superannuation funds to AustralianSuper where a membership account will be set up in your name on your behalf. AustralianSuper will contact you with a welcome pack along with full details on your membership.

Please note that the AEC is not liable for the performance of its employees’ superannuation funds, or fees relating to the commencement, transferring or closure of accounts.

If you wish to seek further information in relation to the AEC’s default super fund, please contact AustralianSuper on 1300 300 273.

If you are employed to work on election day only, you are not required to fill in a timesheet. You will be required to sign an attendance record sheet at the location of your workplace.

If you are employed to work at other times during the election period, you are required to ensure your start and finish times (and any breaks) are accurately recorded on a timesheet.

Your supervisor will advise you about the timesheet requirements.

Each period of casual employment terminates automatically at the end of the employment period detailed in section 1 of your Offer of Casual Employment letter. If you are employed to work on election day only, your employment will cease following the completion of duties on election day.

The AEC may terminate your employment immediately without notice, with or without cause. In all circumstances, regardless of whether notice is provided, the AEC will only pay you up to the end of your last period of casual employment and you will not be entitled to payment in lieu of notice.

Employment

No, you only need submit a Registration of Interest (ROI) in AEC Employment once in order to be considered for roles at any and all future electoral events conducted by the AEC.

If you need to update any personal/contact details, please login to your ROI to ensure the AEC has your current details.

Registration does not guarantee that employment will be offered.

Prior work at an election does not guarantee you employment in future elections.

Always ensure that your contact details are up to date as once an offer of employment is made, an email alert is sent prompting you to access your offer within your Registration of Interest (ROI) in AEC Employment.

If you have not received an email alerting you that an offer of employment has been issued, check your junk or spam mail folders and ensure your email address is correct within your Registration of Interest (ROI) in AEC Employment.

Yes. As part of the Registration of Interest (ROI) process in AEC Employment you will be asked to nominate up to ten preferred work locations. You will also nominate your preferred period of employment (e.g. before, on or after election day).

Find my electoral division

When completing your Registration of Interest (ROI) in AEC Employment, you will be asked to indicate your availability to work at the election. You can advise your preference to work on election day only.

Yes. You must be an Australian citizen to work for the AEC.

The AEC operates in a politically sensitive environment. Any individual who is, or is seen to be active in political affairs, and intends to publicly carry on this activity, may compromise the strict political neutrality of the AEC. If you do not adhere to the standard of political neutrality, your employment may be terminated.

The AEC Social Media Policy for temporary employees (including election staff) provides guidance, procedures, and protocols for using social media.

Yes. You must be over the age of 18 to be employed on election day. However, if you are under 18 you can be allocated a Temporary Assistant Level 1 position to work before or after election day, and the relevant state or territory's minimum age for employment laws will apply.

The AEC embraces diversity and inclusion as well as promotes equal employment opportunities. Our focus is to provide these employment opportunities to individuals within their local community with suitable skill sets.

You are encouraged to apply if you identify as one of the following:

  • You have no prior experience working at elections
  • You are living with a disability
  • You are an Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander person
  • LGBTQ+
  • You speak a language other than English

There will be a question within the Registration of Interest (ROI) where you will be asked to indicate if you have a disability. If yes, please specify in the “Further information” section whether reasonable adjustment to the workplace is required. The AEC may contact you to discuss your situation further.

If you have low vision or difficulty completing your ROI online, please contact the AEC on 13 23 26 for assistance.

If you no longer wish to be considered for employment with the AEC, please log into your Registration of Interest (ROI) in AEC Employment, go to the “Personal Details” tab to cancel your ROI.

The AEC is committed to creating a workforce that reflects the cultural diversity of the communities we serve, and to close the gap on Indigenous electoral participation.

Staff from the AEC's Indigenous and Community Engagement Team are available to assist Indigenous applicants with information on available jobs, working conditions and preparing and submitting an application.

You will have access to drinking water at your AEC work location, but other food and drinks are not supplied. Also be aware that you might not be based near a shop or café – so make sure you bring enough food and drink to see you through your shift.

In addition to food and drink, you should bring any medication you are prescribed or require. You should also consider bringing a torch to move safely to and from the venue, as the AEC cannot guarantee sufficient external lighting at each venue.

The AEC does not have a specific dress code for temporary election staff, but you are expected to exercise common sense and wear practical and non-offensive clothing (examples of impractical or inappropriate clothing include singlets, thongs, or t-shirts with offensive or political images or messages).

You are also strongly encouraged to wear flat, practical, and supportive footwear, and to consider the weather conditions and venue when choosing what you'll wear.

If you find yourself unable to work for any reason, please contact your divisional office using the contact details provided at the bottom of your Offer of Casual Employment letter as soon as possible. If you don't have those contact details at hand, please call 13 23 26.

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