Frequently Asked Questions
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List of Frequently Asked Questions
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Where the entity includes a Deputy Chair, the Tribunal may set a specific rate for the Deputy Chair where the responsibilities of an office warrant remuneration in excess of that provided to a Member. This could involve particular statutory functions set out in the legislation or significant ongoing responsibilities, for example as Chair of sub-committee/s or with carriage of strategic or risk management aspects of the body. The Tribunal will not usually set a specific Deputy rate where the Deputy role is limited to chairing meetings and taking on some chair responsibilities in the absence of the Chair or assisting the Chair on an ad hoc basis.
In its October 2013 report ‘Review of Remuneration - Part-time Offices’ the Tribunal noted that where a separate Deputy Chair rate is justified it would generally be set at 75 per cent of the Chair for annual fee recipients and at the mid-point between the Chair and Members for daily fee recipients.
The Tribunal does not 'automatically' set Deputy Chair fees; a submission is required specifically addressing the role in order for the Tribunal to consider a separate rate. If it is considered that a different Chair/Deputy Chair/Member ratio is warranted than that recommended by the Tribunal, then this should be addressed in the submission.
No - The FBT on accommodation allowance is an expense to the agency, not the office holder, so it is not to be deducted from total remuneration.
No. The Tribunal determines or advises on remuneration for a public office. Questions on appointment procedures for offices considered by Cabinet should be referred to the Cabinet Secretariat in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The Tribunal has determined a level of financial compensation for a holder of a public office where there is early loss of office (some exclusions apply). Where a term of appointment expires (i.e. there is no early termination) no termination payment is available.
The Tribunal does not determine early loss of office provisions for part-time office holders or judicial offices. Separate severance arrangements apply to Members of Parliament.
The relevant determination for each office type will outline the provisions.
- Full-time Office Holders and Specified Statutory Offices: loss of office provisions are set out in the Compensation for Loss of Office for Holders of Public Office determination.
- Full-time non-Judicial offices included in the Judicial Determination: loss of office provisions are included in the Judicial and Related offices determination.
- Principal Executive Offices (PEOs): loss of office entitlements are set out in the PEO determination.
- Secretaries: loss of office entitlements are set out in the Departmental Secretaries determination.
Questions about the taxation of loss of office compensation should be directed to the Australian Tax Office.
Factors that might be considered include:
- the desirability of having remuneration determined by an experienced, independent authority;
- whether the office will be established for a short or a long time; and
- the significance of the role and responsibilities of the office.
With the exception of the determinations relating to Departmental Secretaries, Tribunal determinations are legislative instruments, which means that, under sub-section 38(1) of the Legislation Act 2003, they are required to be tabled in both houses of Parliament by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel within 6 sitting days after the determination has been registered on the Federal Register of Legislation.
In the absence of a Chair, the Nominated Presiding Officer is the person responsible for chairing the meeting. It could be a Deputy Chair or any other member of the body. The decision on who may be an appropriate person to authorise attendance is a matter for the authority/body having regard to the particular operating requirements of the individual authority/body.
The sole responsibility of the Nominated Presiding Officer, in terms of the Part-time Office determination, is to certify the hours of attendance of office holders (and any associated reasonable official travel) at a formal meeting, i.e. they are simply certifying that someone attended the meeting and as such has an entitlement to fees.
Where an office holder cannot obtain accommodation of a reasonable standard at the locality without incurring additional costs, an additional payment may be made to him/her based on the excess cost of the accommodation over the travel allowance rate, subject to the conditions outlined in the Official Travel determination.
Comprehensive Submission Guidelines are available on the Tribunal’s website.
The guidelines identify the information and data that the Tribunal expects to be included in a submission. Please note that the Tribunal also expects the submission to include an indication of support from the responsible Minister. If it doesn’t, the Tribunal will likely write to the relevant Minister seeking his or her views on the remuneration for the office.
You may also contact the Tribunal’s Secretariat for advice on your particular submission.
The fee determined by the Tribunal is the gross amount payable by the paying agency or authority in respect of the office holder's performance of the functions of the office. Paying agencies need to ensure that any PAYG taxation payable is appropriately withheld.
The Tribunal has no role in advising on taxation obligations. Questions about taxation should be directed to the Australian Taxation Office.
Total remuneration (TR) is defined in the relevant determination applying to the particular office holder (i.e. Full-time Offices, Principal Executive Offices, Specified Statutory Offices, Departmental Secretaries and Judicial and Related Offices).
An office holder's cash salary is the component of TR that remains when all other payments and benefits, including the Employer Superannuation Contribution, are honoured. Cash salary should not be confused with the superannuation salary determined by the Tribunal for members of defined benefit schemes.
Cash salary equals TR, less the Employer Superannuation Contribution, less all payments and benefits included in the office holder's remuneration package (other than those specifically excluded in accordance with the relevant determination).
The process is outlined in the diagram below (note that slightly different superannuation arrangements apply to PEOs - see "How is cash salary calculated for a PEO"):
The Employer's Superannuation Contribution*
Other payments and benefits e.g. allowances, motor vehicle, parking, fringe benefits tax and any salary sacrifice payments e.g. additional superannuation contributions.
* The Employer's Superannuation Contribution is defined in the Tribunal's determination.
Essentially it is:
Part-time fees do not include a superannuation component. Any superannuation obligation, including superannuation guarantee requirements that must be met, is therefore paid on top of the Tribunal's determined fee.
Any enquiries about superannuation liabilities should be directed to the Superannuation Branch in the Department of Finance (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Australian Tax Office. Enquiries on the superannuation arrangements for the Federal Judiciary can be directed to JudicialSchemes@finance.gov.au.
Yes, noting different arrangements apply in respect of Principal Executive Offices (PEOs) – see the PEO page on the Tribunal’s website for more information.
In order to have the Tribunal make a determination for an office, a submission must be made to the Tribunal.
Rates for meals and incidentals are equivalent to the overseas meals and incidentals rates in the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) determination dealing with reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts. The relevant ATO determination is specified in the Tribunal’s Official Travel determination.
The rate of overseas TA payable to an office holder depends on the Travel Tier determined for the office. Accommodation should be provided at a standard reasonably equivalent to that provided for the office holder in Australia.
Class of travel is also dependent on the Travel Tier determined by the Tribunal, i.e.
Tier 1 = First Class or Business Class
Tier 2 = Business Class
Tier 3 = Economy Class
An office holder who is entitled to travel Economy Class may upgrade to Business Class where the duration of the flight exceeds five hours.
Parking provided at the main office location of a Secretary or full-time office holder, where there is a cost to the Commonwealth, is regarded as a benefit to that office holder and the value, including any fringe benefits tax, is therefore part of the office holder’s total remuneration. This applies even where the office holder doesn't have a Commonwealth provided vehicle.
A Class B parking permit to allow short stay parking in Commonwealth designated spaces would normally be regarded as a business support expense to the Department or agency and therefore not a benefit to the office holder.
Yes. The Tribunal may agree to provide indicative advice on remuneration pending passage of the legislation. Once the legislation has passed, the relevant Department should advise the Tribunal’s Secretariat of that fact and of any amendments to the legislation during its passage. The Tribunal will then issue a formal determination.
In the normal course of business, commitment to meetings may fluctuate in terms of the size of the agenda or the complexity of the items considered. This may impact on the preparation time required of an office-holder.
Regardless of this fluctuation, time spent preparing for a formal meeting does not ordinarily attract a separate payment. The fee that is payable on a meeting day has already been determined to take account of the time spent preparing for a meeting.
The Part-time Office determination does provide that "Time spent by the office holder preparing for a formal meeting that the Chair considers is excessive to normal preparation time may be treated as 'authority business'". This means that only where preparation time goes well beyond what is normally required of the office holder could it be considered excessive.
The Tribunal does not envisage circumstances where this would be a regular occurrence. Where office holders do regularly spend excessive time preparing for meetings, the authority may wish to consider whether another remuneration rate, or model, may better suit the functions of the office. Any change would require a submission to the Tribunal.
No - Travel usually means interstate travel and is expected to involve a considerable distance (e.g. requiring a flight). TA is only payable in relation to an overnight absence.
The Tribunal may determine recreation leave for full-time holders of public office (but not part-time) where the enabling legislation (i.e. the Act establishing the office) states that the Tribunal will determine the matter.
It cannot determine other types of leave, such as personal and miscellaneous leave, for public office holders other than Secretaries of Departments.
The Tribunal has more general powers for Principal Executive Offices (PEOs) and for Judicial and Related offices - it can determine other types of leave as outlined in Part 5 of the PEO determination and in Part 2 of the Judicial and Related Offices determination.
Yes, the responsible Department or agency should advise the Tribunal at email@example.com as soon as possible so that redundant entries may be removed from the relevant determination(s).