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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.

How is a PEO’s superannuation salary determined? How is the value of the Employer Superannuation Contribution calculated?

For each Principal Executive Office (PEO) the Tribunal sets a total remuneration reference rate establishing the parameters within which the relevant employing body determines total remuneration (TR).

The employing body also determines the superannuation salary for a PEO who is a member of a defined benefits scheme. This may be up to 73% of TR (unless the Tribunal has consented to other arrangements for a specific office holder).

The Employer Superannuation Contribution is a compulsory component of TR and the amount actually contributed must comply with the employer's legal obligations under relevant legislation.

Defined benefit scheme members

For a PEO who is member of a defined benefit scheme, the Employer Superannuation Contribution, for the purpose of calculating the cash salary component of TR, is usually a notional amount calculated as 15.4% of the office holder’s superannuation salary. The value of the Employer Superannuation Contribution may be less than 15.4% of superannuation salary if there is actuarial evidence that the cost to the agency (including the cost of the productivity component) is lower that 15.4%.

The value of the notional Employer Superannuation Contribution changes whenever an office holder’s TR is adjusted.

However, contributions salary, on which personal contributions are based, generally does not change until the office holder’s birthday and should be administered according to the rules of the scheme.

Note that actual employer payments made by a Department or agency to the superannuation scheme in respect of office holders’ 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.

Accumulation Fund members

See the FAQ “How is the Employer Superannuation Contribution calculated for an office holder who is a member of an accumulation scheme such as the PSSAP?

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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