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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.

How is the Employer Superannuation Contribution calculated for an office holder who is a member of a defined benefit scheme?

For a member of a defined benefit scheme, the value of the Employer Superannuation Contribution for the purpose of calculating the cash component of total remuneration (TR) is a notional amount calculated as 15.4% of the office holder’s superannuation salary.

Note that the value may be less than 15.4% for Principal Executive Offices (PEOs) in some circumstances – see the PEO determination for more information.

The Employer Superannuation Contribution for TR purposes needs to be recalculated immediately upon any change in TR for the office. This will result in a change to the office holder’s cash salary.

However, the office holder’s superannuation contributions salary remains subject to the rules of the scheme, i.e. is updated on the office holder’s birthday.

Note that actual employer payments made by a Department or agency to the superannuation scheme in respect of an office holder’s superannuation (based on advice from the Superannuation Branch of the Department of Finance) vary according to demographics and scheme membership in the particular Department or agency.  Because of this the Tribunal has determined that a standard notional contribution rate (15.4%) should apply to all office holders who are members of defined benefit funds (and that it should apply immediately on adjustment, rather than from the office holder’s birthday). 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 .

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