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How soon after an office holder receives a pay rise should superannuation be adjusted?

Defined benefit schemes (e.g. PSS/CSS)

* For total remuneration (TR) and calculation of cash salary purposes:

The office holder’s new superannuation salary should be used to calculate the notional Employer Superannuation Contributions from the date of effect of the increase determined by the Tribunal.

*       For contribution purposes:

Changes to any amount of superannuation that the office holder personally contributes to the PSS or CSS are made in accordance with the rules of the scheme, for instance, an office holder’s salary for contributions purposes is updated on the person’s birthday, falling on or after the date of effect.

Accumulation schemes

For PSSAP members the value of the Employer Superannuation Contribution should be updated from the date of effect of the Tribunal's increase; actual employer contributions will also be updated at that time.  The minimum “guarantee” payments for members of other accumulation funds should be updated when TR is adjusted, or each 1 July if the maximum contribution base applies.  Actual contributions can be modified at any time to reflect salary packaging preferences of the office holder, but the minimum contribution required by the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 must be paid, and, for Principal Executive Offices (PEOs), reported to the Tribunal on PEO notifications.

What if an office holder's TA is not sufficient to cover accommodation costs?

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.

Is TA remuneration?

No - TA is an allowance to meet expenses incurred by the office holder when required to travel to perform his/her official duties.

What does the Tribunal determine with respect to spouse travel?

The Tribunal only determines in respect of the office holder, not his/her spouse. The Official Travel determination provides that where the Commonwealth meets travel costs of a spouse or partner, an office holder is to be paid an amount as is vouched as the difference between the cost of a single and double room.

Generally, accompanied travel may only occur when the office holder's employing body or Minister certifies in writing that it is demonstrably in the interests of the Commonwealth, given the purpose of the travel, for the office holder to be accompanied by his or her spouse or partner. Matters such as the occasions on which an office holder can be accompanied, number of accompanied trips per year etc, are up to the individual employing body or Minister.

What happens if an office holder has an existing superannuation salary that is higher than the superannuation salary that applies to the office?

Commonwealth defined benefits scheme rules provide that an office holder's salary for superannuation purposes will be grandfathered at the highest rate applying in the year to the member's last birthday, increased annually in accordance with changes to the Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings (AWOTE) unless a higher superannuation salary is applied.

To ensure an office holder’s superannuation salary conforms with scheme requirements, the Tribunal will, upon request, agree to a higher personal superannuation salary rate for the office holder. A request to the Tribunal can be included in a remuneration submission by a Minister or employing body or notified to the Tribunal’s Secretariat by a relevant senior officer of the agency with access to the officer holder’s superannuation salary history.

Is employer provided parking considered a benefit and therefore part of an office holder’s total remuneration?

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.

What provisions apply where an office holder has to relocate to take up an appointment?

The Tribunal has issued Relocation Assistance Guidelines to assist Ministers and Employing Authorities in making a request for relocation assistance for a holder of a full-time office who has been offered appointment to an office in a geographical locality that is different from the locality of the person’s principal place of residence. For more information about the relocation assistance provisions, see the Full-time office and PEO determinations. Relocation assistance for Departmental Secretaries is not subject to these Guidelines – see the Secretaries determination for more information about Secretaries relocation assistance provisions..

Do the Tribunal’s Relocation Assistance Guidelines apply to full-time offices including Judges and PEOs?

The provisions and principles outlined in the Guidelines apply to the holders of full-time offices including PEOs and non-judicial offices remunerated on a total remuneration basis. They do not apply to other offices in the Judicial and Related Offices determination. For more information about the relocation assistance provisions, see the Full-time office and PEO determinations. Relocation assistance for Departmental Secretaries is not subject to these Guidelines – see the Secretaries determination for more information about Secretaries relocation assistance provisions.

 

If an office holder’s accommodation allowance becomes subject to fringe benefits tax (FBT), should the FBT be deducted from the office holder's total remuneration?

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.

What happens if an office holder’s appointment is terminated early?

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.

Questions about the taxation of loss of office compensation should be directed to the Australian Tax Office.

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