Part-time Office Holder Background
The Part-time Office Holder (PTOH) determination encompasses those office holders who are appointed to Commonwealth Government boards, councils and committees and who generally work on a part-time basis.
The Remuneration Tribunal is required to determine remuneration for offices that meet the definition of 'public office' in section 3(4) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 (the Act). All offices which are established by a Commonwealth law (also called statutory offices) and appointments made under a Commonwealth law are in the determinative jurisdiction of the Tribunal. Other appointments made by the Governor-General or by a Minister of State are referred into the Tribunal's jurisdiction by the Minister responsible for the Act, the Minister for the Public Service.
In setting remuneration for office holders, the Tribunal may take into consideration a range of information. This includes but is not limited to the workload and work value of the office, fees in the private sector, wage indices, other economic indices, rates set for other bodies, and the public interest and personal status involved in holding the office.
Offices not specified under the PTOH determination
The PTOH determination contains rates for 'offices not specified'. The responsible Minister may use these rates for those offices which are in the Tribunal's jurisdiction and for which no individual determination of fees has been made by the Tribunal.
Full-time Commonwealth employees
In general, a full-time office holder does not receive remuneration in addition to that received for the full-time office when he or she undertakes any other Government board or committee work.
Where a person is employed full-time by the Commonwealth (or a business owned by the Commonwealth) or in the administration of a Territory and is appointed to a part-time office, the Act (section 7(11)) prevents that employee from being paid for that part-time office (unless excluded from that provision), even though the Tribunal may have set fees for that office.
The office holder may, however, be entitled to receive travelling allowance in connection with the part-time office commitment.
The Tribunal has four remuneration models for holders of part-time public office. These appear in separate sections of the PTOH determination.
Annual fees may suit offices where the functions are continuous and the work load can be identified with some certainty over time. They often suit governance boards where office holders have a regular pattern of work and where the responsibilities and functions are well known (for example, as set out in legislation or Statements of Requirement).
Annual fees also enable the Tribunal to recognise the responsibilities of the office and any associated sensitivities and standing of the office holders, which do not necessarily correlate with the time commitment involved.
Daily fees may suit offices where the workload is:
- expected to be ad hoc and irregular
- predictable but relatively infrequent
- associated with case work and hence is dependent on that case load, or
- highly variable between office holders.
Daily fees are also used where a new body has been established and it has been difficult to predict the likely workload and responsibilities on its commencement. Generally the Tribunal would review these remuneration arrangements after twelve months to determine appropriate ongoing remuneration.
Base annual fee and daily meeting fee
This model provides for an annual fee that recognises all ‘authority business’. Authority business is authorised work that is not a formal meeting. This includes sub-committee work, stakeholder engagement and representational work. Like the annual fee model, it enables the Tribunal to consider whether the base fee should incorporate a component that recognises elements like the autonomy, responsibilities, availability and expertise of the office holder.
The daily meeting fee recompenses for any meetings of the body which exceed five hours duration (including official travel time).
This model may suit offices where:
- the commitment is difficult to quantify or
- where there is a requirement for the office holder to be ready to respond frequently at short (and unpredictable) notice for short durations.
Annual meeting fee and additional daily fee
This model provides for an annual meeting fee to cover all formal meetings, regardless of their duration, including all preparation and travel associated with those meetings. Like the previous model it enables the Tribunal to include in the annual fee a component that recognises other elements such as the autonomy, responsibilities and expertise of the office holder.
The model then provides for an additional daily fee for other authority business.
This model may suit advisory bodies with regular meeting commitments. It enables recognition of:
- extensive preparation time requirements
- additional out-of-session work, such as workshops and field trips that are of an ad hoc nature or may not involve all office holders, and
- variable workload between office holders.
The general provisions for domestic and overseas travel by office holders are in the Remuneration Tribunal (Official Travel) Determination (the travel determination). The PTOH determination sets out which of the three travel tiers applies to an office. It 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.
The Tribunal has no power to determine leave provisions for part-time office holders.
Early loss of office
The Tribunal has not determined any early loss of office provisions for part-time office holders.
How to make a submission
Information on how to make a submission to the Tribunal is available on this website.