Full-Time Office Holder Background
The Remuneration Tribunal has a role in setting remuneration and related matters for a range of senior jobs (offices) in Commonwealth bodies.
For most offices the Tribunal issues a formal determination under the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 (the Act) setting out remuneration arrangements. These determinations are disallowable by the Parliament. For a small number of offices the Tribunal provides advice on appropriate remuneration.
Under the Act remuneration is reviewed annually. Interested parties may make submissions to the Tribunal.
Categories of full-time offices
The Tribunal determines the remuneration for full-time public offices. Since December 2002, the Tribunal has determined the 'total remuneration' (TR) for each office covered by the Remuneration Tribunal (Remuneration and Allowances for Holders of Full-time Public Office) Determination (the FTOH determination). The latest FTOH determination is on the Full-time offices page.
Prior to moving offices to TR, salary and some loadings for these office holders were determined by the Tribunal, while the employer approved certain other remuneration components.
The Tribunal also determines the remuneration for Specified Statutory Officers (SSOs), which have been operating under the TR approach since 1999. SSOs are covered by a separate determination, the Remuneration Tribunal (Specified Statutory Officers - Remuneration and Allowances) Determination (the SSO determination). This determination is also on the Full-time offices page.
The Tribunal advises on remuneration for the heads of most Australian Public Service agencies and a small number of jobs in Commonwealth bodies that fall outside the Tribunal's determinative jurisdiction (i.e. are not subject to the FTOH or Principal Executive Office (PEO) determinations).
For full-time public office holders, remuneration and significantly related matters are determined by the Tribunal. Unlike the PEO structure there is no scope for remuneration to be set directly between the office holder and their employer. For these offices an employing body cannot be specified and/or the application of a performance based remuneration scheme would be inappropriate because of factors such as a regulatory or quasi–judicial role, or independence from Government.
The Act defines 'public office'. The definitions include 'an office established by, or an appointment made under, a law of the Commonwealth …' (section 3). The Tribunal inquires into and determines remuneration and 'significantly related' matters for holders of public office (under section 7). The Act specifies that the Tribunal must make a determination in respect of full-time public office holders' remuneration at intervals of not more than one year (section 8).
To date the Tribunal has exercised its authority to make determinations on three matters 'significantly related' to remuneration - official travel, recreation leave and early loss of office provisions. These may apply to public office holders.
In addition, the Tribunal has issued guidelines on relocation assistance which apply to full-time office holders and SSOs who accept appointment to an office in a geographic locality different to their current residential location.
The general provisions for domestic and overseas travel by office holders are in the Remuneration Tribunal (Official Travel) Determination (the travel determination). The FTOH and SSO determinations set out which of the three travel tiers is applicable to an office. The determinations may also contain specific travel-related provisions for an office or a group of offices.
Travel within Australia - for each of the three travel tiers, Schedule A of the travel determination sets out the travelling allowance rates payable for the various Australian cities and towns. There is no payment where the travel does not involve an overnight absence.
Overseas travel - the travel determination also provides for overseas meals and incidentals rates to be paid in accordance with the rates published annually by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in its taxation ruling dealing with reasonable travelling allowance amounts. The Taxation Determinations can be found on the ATO website for the relevant year.
Motor vehicle travel - motor vehicle allowances are also contained in the travel determination.
Under the Act, the Tribunal may determine recreation leave for full-time holders of public office where the enabling legislation (i.e. the Act establishing the office) states that the Tribunal will determine the matter (section 7 (3AB)). These provisions are in the Remuneration Tribunal (Recreation Leave for Holders of Relevant Offices) Determination.
Early loss of office
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.
Provisions for full-time office holders and SSOs are in the Remuneration Tribunal (Compensation for Loss of Office for Holders of Public Offices) Determination.