Frequently asked questions

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What is the TA rate for a public servant serving on a Board or Committee?
While public servants may not be paid annual or per diem fees for participation on a Board or Committee, they can receive the travelling allowance rate determined by the Tribunal.

Travelling allowance rates are contained in the Official Travel Determination.

Applies to: Part time

Can an office holder divert payment of their remuneration to a third party?
How the fee determined by the Remuneration Tribunal for an office is actually paid is a matter between the paying agency or authority and the office holder.

If the payer is uncertain of whether the office holder's preferred method of payment affects taxation obligations, he or she should seek the advice of the Australian Taxation Office. It should be noted that the amount of the fee determined by the Tribunal is inclusive of any taxation obligation.

The Tribunal, in determining remuneration for holders of public office, understands that:
  • the holder of a public office (which in the Remuneration Tribunal context includes any office for which the Tribunal determines remuneration) is the individual who is appointed to that office; and
  • the individual holding the office has an entitlement to the remuneration determined by the Tribunal, and in performing the functions of that office the office holder earns that remuneration.

Applies to: Part time

Do we have to wait for the next Tribunal meeting before our submission can be considered?
No. The Tribunal may consider submissions in between the holding of formal meetings if there is an urgent, real need for that to occur.

Applies to: Part time

Does the Tribunal determine fees comparable to consultants fees?
The rates in the Tribunal's system are not private consultancy fees, which are negotiable by the parties and are generally higher. Note that a feature of private sector practice is to discount the daily fee where a substantial block of work is guaranteed.

In making determinations, the Tribunal considers factors such as the public interest and personal status involved in holding the office. In addition, remuneration received by a holder of a part-time public office is often supplementary to his or her principal earnings. These factors have a moderating effect on the level of fees determined.

Applies to: Part time

What exactly is a board member entitled to receive?

In monetary terms, an office holder is entitled to the fees determined by the Tribunal in the Part-time Office Holder determination plus travelling allowance.   They may also have an entitlement to superannuation under separate superannuation legislation.

The Tribunal has no role in determining what business support should be provided to office holders.  This is a matter for employing bodies.

Applies to: Part time

What is the difference between "normal" and "excessive" preparation time for a formal meeting?

In the normal course of business, commitment to meetings may fluctuate in terms of the size of the agenda or the complexity of the items considered.  This may impact on the preparation time required of an office-holder.

Regardless of this fluctuation, time spent preparing for a formal meeting does not ordinarily attract a separate payment.  The fee that is payable on a meeting day has already been determined to take account of the time spent preparing for a meeting.

The Part-time Office Holder determination does provide that "Time spent by the office holder preparing for a formal meeting that the Chair considers is excessive to normal prepration time may be treated as 'authority business'".

This means that only where preparation time goes well beyond what is normally required of the office holder could it be considered excessive.

The Tribunal does not envisage circumstances where this would be a regular occurrence.  Where office holders do regularly spend excessive time preparing for meetings, the authority may wish to consider whether another remuneration rate, or model, may better suit the functions of the office.  Any change would require a submission to the Tribunal.

Applies to: Part time

Is there an obligation to advise the Tribunal of changes such as a new appointment to an office or the resignation of an office holder?
There is no obligation to do so; however, such advice is welcomed as it assists in ensuring that correspondence to the office holder is correctly addressed.

Applies to: Part time; Full time

What should an acting appointee be paid?
Section 33A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 provides that the person or body who has the power to appoint a person to act in a particular office also has the power to determine the acting appointee's remuneration and allowances unless the enabling legislation (i.e. the Act establishing the office) provides otherwise.

It is recommended that Departments/agencies seek legal advice regarding their own particular circumstances.

Applies to: Part time; Full time

If an office in the Tribunal's jurisdiction is abolished, should the Tribunal be advised?
Yes, as a courtesy the responsible Department or agency should advise the Tribunal as soon as possible. This will enable any redundant entries to be removed from the relevant determination(s).

Applies to: Part time; Full time

I have an office holder who does not want to get paid. Do we have to pay him/her?
A public office holder, who holds an office that has had remuneration determined for it by the Tribunal, has a legal entitlement to that remuneration, unless specifically excluded in legislation from receiving payment (being, for instance, a full-time Australian Government employee). It is the Tribunal's understanding that generally an office holder would not be able to give a legally binding waiver of their entitlement to remuneration.

Applies to: Part time