Members of Council, Principal Committees, and working committees are appointed under Section 41 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 (the NHMRC Act). Section 43 of the NHMRC Act states that eligible members are to be paid the amount determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. These payments will be made in accordance with the Tribunal’s Determination: Remuneration and Allowances for Holders of Part-Time Public Office, applicable at the time the work is undertaken.
Subject to eligibility, Council members and Chairs of the Principal Committees will be paid the annual fee prescribed in the Determination. Members of the Principal Committees and all other members and chairs will receive the daily fee, also prescribed in the Determination.
Chairs and members who are eligible to receive the daily fee will be paid for attendance at formal meetings, and other NHMRC-authorised work and travel, where these records or claims are certified by the Chair or nominated presiding officer. Payments for NHMRC-authorised work or travel can only be made where the time spent is one hour or more. The maximum payment that may be made for work on a day is one daily fee.
To facilitate payment, members are asked to complete a Remuneration and Personal Details Form and relevant superannuation details upon their appointment. NHMRC will assess the information provided in this form to determine eligibility for payment.
When providing bank details, members should note the Tribunal’s statutory interpretation that only a natural person can hold or be appointed to a public office. Thus payment of remuneration should be made to the person who holds or performs the duties of the office.
Annual and daily fee payments are processed monthly and a ‘payment advice’ is emailed to members to correspond with each payment. This advice outlines the names and dates of the meetings included in the payment.
In July each year, NHMRC will provide payment summaries to members for taxation purposes.
Eligibility to receive payment
Section 43 (2) A of the NHMRC Act states that members who are also in the service or employment of, or authority of, the Commonwealth, State or Territory on a full-time basis, or who hold or perform the duties of an office or position established by or under a law of the Commonwealth, State or Territory, are not entitled to remuneration for their NHMRC appointment. This requirement is similarly stated in Section 7(11) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973. Members who are ineligible for sitting fees may still be entitled to travel allowance and/or reimbursement of incidental expenditure associated with travel for NHMRC business (refer to part 2 ‘Travel Arrangements’).
Members who receive payment of an annual or daily fee may also be eligible to receive employer superannuation contributions, subject to relevant legislation. NHMRC will make contributions to the member’s chosen fund, providing it complies with the government’s SuperStream requirements. Members are asked to provide details of their chosen fund to Committee Payroll. Members who do not nominate a compliant superannuation fund will have their employer contributions made to NHMRC’s default fund, AustralianSuper.
NHMRC will make required payments into members’ chosen superannuation funds unless there is legislation which does not allow this to happen.
Salary packaging is not available to members remunerated on a daily fee basis.
Members who receive annual or daily fees are subject to taxation at the applicable rate prescribed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Members who are eligible to receive remuneration will be provided with a Tax File Declaration form to complete and return to NHMRC. Members who do not complete and return this form will have tax deducted at the highest marginal rates, in accordance with the ATO’s requirements.
Enquiries about sitting fees may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to the Committee Payroll team on 02 6217 9324.
Australian Workplace Health and Safety Laws
The NHMRC is committed to maintaining a healthy workplace for all its workers as defined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) including, but not limited to, Council and committee members.
To meet our obligations under the WHS Act we need to bring to your attention that while at the NHMRC as a worker you have a duty to:
- take reasonable care for your own health and safety
- take reasonable care that your actions or omissions do not adversely affect others’ health and safety
- comply with reasonable instructions from NHMRC officials that enable compliance with the WHS Act, and
- cooperate with reasonable WHS policies and procedures within the NHMRC that you have been notified of.
Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) commenced on 15 January 2014 and promotes integrity and accountability in the Australian public sector by encouraging the disclosure of information about suspected wrongdoing, protecting people who make disclosures and requiring agencies to take action in relation to public interest disclosures.
A public interest disclosure (PID) is a disclosure by a current or former public official of suspected wrongdoing in the Commonwealth public sector. Only a current or former ‘public official’ may make a disclosure, and this term includes Australian Government public servants, statutory office holders (including Council and committee members) and staff of Commonwealth contracted service providers.
A disclosure is made when:
- a person who is or has been a public official
- makes the disclosure to their supervisor, or an Authorised Officer of the NHMRC, and
- the information tends to show, or the discloser believes on reasonable grounds the information tends to show, one or more instances of disclosable conduct.
For the purposes of these procedures, an Authorised Officer in the NHMRC is:
- the CEO (as a Principal Officer under the PID Act) or
- an employee of the NHMRC appointed, in writing, by the Principal Officer as an Authorised Officer for the purposes of the PID Act.
Members can find out more about the disclosure process, including the protections offered, and the names and contact details of the NHMRC’s Authorised Officers, in the Procedures for facilitating and dealing with public interest disclosures relating to the National Health and Medical Research Council available from the NHMRC website.
Conduct and behaviour
Council and Committee members are expected to behave and conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Australian Public Service (APS) Code of Conduct.
To meet this standard of conduct and behaviour when undertaking work for the NHMRC, you must:
- behave honestly and with integrity in your activities
- act with care and diligence
- treat everyone with respect and courtesy, and without harassment
- comply with all applicable Australian laws
- disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent)
- use Commonwealth resources in a proper manner
- not provide false or misleading information in response to a request for information that is made for official purposes
- not make improper use of:
- inside information, or
- your duties, status, power or authority,in order to gain, or seek to gain, a benefit or advantage for yourself or for any other person
- at all times behave in a way that upholds the integrity and good reputation of the NHMRC
Section 44B (1) of the NHMRC Act provides for the termination of appointments on the grounds of misbehaviour.