18 May 2021

Big pay boost for ACT Public Service chiefs

| Ian Bushnell
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ACT Public Service executive pay rises a bid to boost competitiveness. File photo.

ACT Public Service executives have been granted a bigger pay rise than usual as part of a bid to help the ACT to attract and retain staff from other services, particularly the Commonwealth and NSW.

The ACT Remuneration Tribunal has delivered a 4.7 per cent base salary rise to each band, taking the top paid Head of Service role to $381,524, and the bottom level to $156,010.

The Tribunal believes the Head of Service role should be a separate Band 5, providing an additional $10,000 a year above the remuneration of an Executive Level 4.4 to “better recognise the distinct importance and whole of government focus of this position”.

The fringe benefit tax payment, which has not changed for some time, has been increased from $7,000 to $7,500, and the maximum relocation allowance amount has been raised to $55,000, with the allowance to be repaid if a new executive leaves within 12 months.

The pay decision is attached to the Tribunal’s final report of its Major Review of ACT Public Service Executive Remuneration, Allowances and Other Entitlements, in which it says the ACTPS is not directly competitive at each band compared to the APS and NSW.

“However, it is important that it is attractive, for example, for a band 1 executive in the APS or NSW to consider an opportunity or promotion as a more senior band 2 in the ACTPS,” the Tribunal says.

“Similarly, a more junior or medium level band 2 in the APS or NSW may well see it as attractive to compete for a more senior band 3 position in the ACTPS. In its deliberations, the Tribunal is conscious of maintaining and increasing, where possible, the competitiveness and attractiveness of the ACTPS in this way, comparative to the APS and NSW.”

The Tribunal also found that executive pay increases were out of step with non-executive staff increases achieved through enterprise bargaining.

Non-executive pay rises amounted to 36.56 per cent during the 10 year period up to 2016, the last pay increases provided by the 2013-17 enterprise agreements, compared to executive salaries growing by 30.75 per cent over the same period, a difference of 5.81 per cent.

“Using the compounding methodology, these rates are 43.25 per cent and 35.39 per cent respectively (representing a difference of 7.86 per cent) to 2016 and are further increased to 55.32 per cent and 41.55 per cent (a difference of 13.77 per cent), based on the salary increases in the new enterprise agreements,” the Tribunal says.

The first comprehensive examination of the ACT Public Service Executive Remuneration since the establishment of the ACTPS 25 years ago, the review contains 22 decisions, many being recommendations to the ACT Government and the Head of Service.

The review highlights the competitive executive labor market that the ACT is contending with, and the Tribunal believes the implementation of the Final Report decisions provides a sound basis for ensuring that the ACTPS can continue to attract and retain quality executives.

The pay rises will take effect from 1 July 2019.

At 30 June 2018, there were 265 individuals in the ACTPS Senior Executive Service (SES), about 1 per cent of the total ACTPS workforce. The average age for the SES is 50.2 years, compared to 42.4 years across the ACTPS workforce, and 46.1 per cent is female compared with 65.2 per cent for the whole ACTPS workforce.


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