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What is the TA rate for a Commonwealth employee who also holds a part-time public office?

While full-time Commonwealth employees may not be paid annual or per diem fees for fulfilling their duties as a part-time office holder, they can receive the travelling allowance rate determined by the Tribunal.

Travelling allowance rates are contained in the Official Travel determination.

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.

Can an office holder receive TA if he or she has to travel from an outer suburb to a meeting location?

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.

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’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.

Is a part-time office holder entitled to superannuation?

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 (superbranch [at] finance.gov.au) or the Australian Tax Office. Enquiries on the superannuation arrangements for the Federal Judiciary can be directed to JudicialSchemes [at] finance.gov.au.

If an office isn’t listed in any determination, what remuneration is payable for that office?

For a part-time office in the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, the daily fees for ‘offices not specified’ set out in the Part-time Office determination may be used, subject to any discretion available in the establishing legislation for the office.

As the Tribunal does not have determinative powers in relation to setting remuneration for individual Principal Executive (PEO) offices, remuneration for individual PEOs is not included in the PEO determination. The Tribunal writes to the relevant employing body setting the remuneration parameters for each PEO.

In any other case, you should contact the Tribunal’s Secretariat for advice.

If the responsibilities of an office change, should the Tribunal be advised?

Where there are significant changes to the role or responsibilities of an office that warrant reconsideration of remuneration, a submission should be made to the Tribunal as soon as possible. Comprehensive submission guidelines are available on the Tribunal’s website.

You may also contact the Tribunal’s Secretariat for advice on your particular submission. Where time permits, the Secretariat can also provide feedback on draft submissions.

Is an office holder’s TA reduced when the agency books and pays for an office holder’s accommodation?

The Official Travel determination provides for the payment of an allowance to the office holder to cover reasonable expenses associated with official travel, i.e. accommodation, meals and incidentals, and it is a matter for the office holder as to how that allowance is to be used.  An office holder’s TA must be paid in full.

However, in the event that the cost of accommodation is met by an entity other than the office holder, only the meals and incidentals component of TA is payable. An example of this might include where an office holder attended a conference and the cost of accommodation was met by the Commonwealth as part of the conference package.

In applying the provisions of the Official Travel determination, office holders and agencies should have regard to the set of general principles included in that determination.