Frequently Asked Questions
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List of Frequently Asked Questions
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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.
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.
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 remuneration of Members of Parliament (MPs) – i.e. all senators and members of the House of Representatives, including Ministers and Parliamentary office holders – is made up of several components:
All MPs receive a base salary. The current rate of the base salary is in the Tribunal’s Members of Parliament determination which is available on the Parliamentary Offices page of the Tribunal’s website.
Additional salary may be payable to MPs who are also Ministers or office holders. Additional salary is expressed as a percentage of base salary.
The Tribunal makes recommendations to the Government on Ministers' additional salary, and the Government may accept or reject the Tribunal's advice. The Tribunal’s most recent report on Ministerial salaries is available on the Parliamentary Offices page of the Tribunal’s website.
Additional salaries determined by the Tribunal for office holders are set out in the Tribunal’s Members of Parliament determination.
Other remuneration and allowances
The Tribunal also determines a range of remuneration related provisions (such as private plated vehicles) and allowances (including electorate allowance) for MPs, as well as provisions for former MPs (such as post-retirement travel). The current provisions are in the Tribunal’s Members of Parliament determination.
Superannuation is not determined by the Tribunal but is governed by the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948 and the Parliamentary Superannuation Act 2004. All questions on parliamentary superannuation should be directed to the Department of Finance.
While not part of remuneration, MPs may also be paid expenses incurred in the course of conducting their parliamentary business, such as travel and transport costs. This includes some travel expenses associated with family reunion in recognition of the extensive travel undertaken by MPs. From 1 January 2018 MPs’ work expenses are prescribed in the Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations. At least once each year, the Tribunal will inquire into and report to the Special Minister of State on matters relating to travel expenses and travel allowances for MPs. The actual travel allowance rates will be determined by the Tribunal and published in the Members of Parliament determination.
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.
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.
No. A person employed on a full-time basis by the Commonwealth (e.g. an Australian Public Service employee or a public office holder) may not receive remuneration for holding a part-time public office but can receive travelling allowance for official travel associated with fulfilling the requirements of that office.
The legislative basis for this is sub-section 7(11) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 (the Act). The restriction also applies to a person holding any office or appointment or who is otherwise employed, on a full-time basis, in the service or employment of the Commonwealth, the Administration of a Territory, a public statutory corporation, an incorporated company referred to in paragraph 3(4)(da) of the Act or an incorporated company all the stock or share in the capital or which is or are beneficially owned by the Commonwealth or by a public statutory corporation.
Whether a State public servant can receive payment for holding a part-time public office (e.g. on a Federal Government body) is a matter for the relevant State government.
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.
Tribunal determinations, except those specifically applying to Departmental Secretaries and Members of Parliament, are disallowable instruments under the Legislation Act 2003.
This means that either House of Parliament may, within 15 sitting days after a disallowable determination has been tabled, pass a resolution 'disapproving' the determination. If a determination that is disapproved (disallowed) has already come into operation, the determination does not have any force or effect on or after the day on which the resolution was passed.
However, disallowance does not apply retrospectively. This means, for example, that office holders who have already received a pay rise do not have to repay any additional remuneration they have already received. However, from the date of disallowance, their remuneration reverts to its previous level.
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.
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.
The diversity of bodies within the Tribunal's jurisdiction, together with the work undertaken, means that a formal meeting of the body can take many guises. For this reason the Part-time Office determination isn't definitive about what constitutes a 'formal meeting'.
In general a formal meeting includes all members of the body (formal apologies aside) being called to meet for a specific purpose which encompasses the main work of that body. There may also be other attendees. It would include instances where office holders remotely access the meeting (e.g. via teleconferencing or video conferencing facilities). Often there is a formal agenda with minutes recorded and a requirement for office holders to undertake some prior reading of agenda papers or other preparation.
However not all meetings/gatherings will be a 'formal' meeting. Where there is a requirement for some members of the body to get together, for example, members of a subcommittee or to meet with stakeholders, this would be considered authority business.
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.
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.
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.
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.