Study and Research Assistance Scheme (SARAS)

1.1 Introduction

Employees of the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) are employed under the Public Service Act 2008 (PSA) or by Governor in Council for Senior Executive appointments. OIC human resource (HR) policies are developed directly from the PSA and policies, procedures and directives issued by the responsible Minister and the Public Service Commissioner. All OIC HR policies are approved by the Information Commissioner as the delegated authority and are representative of the size and function of the OIC.

1.2 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline the assistance available to eligible employees who participate in further education and detail the relevant processes to claim such assistance.

1.3 Effective Date

Approved by the Information Commissioner on 19 December 2011.

1.4 References

  • Minister for Employment, Training and Industrial Relations Directive 12/99 Study and Examination Leave

1.5 Application

This policy applies to all employees of the Office engaged for a continuous period greater than or equal to 12 months at the discretion of the Information Commissioner.

The Information Commissioner has sole responsibility and total discretion in deciding whether to grant or refuse assistance under SARAS and overall responsibility for determining the tier of assistance.

An employee seeking to access financial and leave assistance for study purposes should refer to the three tier system encompassing part-time and full-time study or research in accordance with Directive 12/99 Study and Examination Leave.

Prior to any application for SARAS, the employee should discuss with their immediate supervisor their intention to, or interest in undertaking further study. The intention or interest should be noted in the employee’s Personal Performance Plan.

To apply for SARAS, the employee should personally discuss the proposed course with their supervisor and Unit Commissioner.

1.6 How to Apply for SARAS

Once the Unit Commissioner has advised the employee that an application for SARAS would be considered, the employee should complete the SARAS application form (Attachment A) and attach/include the following information:

  • full course program
  • a statement outlining the benefits to the Office and a statement of reasons supporting their application and why they should be granted SARAS
  • full cost and what form of assistance (e.g. financial, leave) they are seeking
  • a schedule for any proposed leave

The employee should submit the application to their Unit Commissioner who will record a recommendation before referring to the Information Commissioner for a decision.

The Information Commissioner will consider each individual application for SARAS with regard to the following:

  • relevance of the proposed course of study or research to the key service priorities and performance measures of the Office
  • operational convenience where the application involves periods of leave from the Office
  • the employee’s conduct and diligence at work

The Information Commissioner will also consider the financial commitments of a SARAS program considering other financial commitments and priorities in the Office. Employees who are participating in a SARAS program are to ensure that records, results and progress is provided to the Information Commissioner at the completion of each period.  

1.7 Reimbursement of Fees

Reimbursement is subject to the successful completion of the subject approved under SARAS and payment to the level of assistance approved by the Information Commissioner.

Claims must be forwarded to the employee’s Unit Commissioner for endorsing prior to the Information Commissioner granting approval to pay reimbursement.

Sufficient evidence supporting all claims for reimbursement must be attached to the claim. Employees with an approved SARAS agreement, approved by the Information Commissioner, can apply for reimbursement of fees for the approved percentage of SARAS upon provision of:

  • a statement from the educational institution of successful completion of subjects
  • provision of a tax invoice from the same educational institution
  • provision of a receipt for the payment of the tax invoice

All claims must be made within 6 months of completion of the relevant subject and/or semester.

Claims are to be made progressively i.e. per subject and/or semester. Additional approval must be sought to defer a claim until a later date.

Any costs incurred as a result of changes to the course of study must be met by the employee and will not be reimbursed by the organisation. 

Download the SARAS Application form  (PDF, 31.33 KB)