Chapter 1: Introduction
The Australian Public Service (APS) Remuneration Report provides an annual snapshot of remuneration across the APS. The purpose of the report is to document remuneration trends based on data collected from APS agencies as at 31 December 2020. This report is available in HTML and PDF versions and can be downloaded from the Australian Public Service Commission’s (APSC) website at: www.apsc.gov.au/remuneration-reports
Employees included in this report
The APS Remuneration Report covers employees engaged under the Public Service Act 1999, including Graduate employees.
Casual employees, locally-engaged staff, employees on leave without pay, and those classified as Trainees or Cadets are excluded. Agency Heads and public office holders are also excluded as their remuneration is set by the Remuneration Tribunal.
Valid data for the 2020 report was received for 136,728 APS employees. 2,746 were Senior Executive Service (SES) and 133,982 were non-SES employees. Remuneration headcount has increased from 133,356 in 2019.
Non-ongoing employees (excluding casuals) are included in the data. From 2019 to 2020 the number of non‑ongoing employees increased from 7,028 to 8,406 which represents a 19.6% increase.
For further information on the size and shape of the APS as at 31 December 2020, see: www.apsc.gov.au/employment-data/aps-employment-data-31-december-2020-release
Executive Remuneration Management Policy
The APS Executive Remuneration Management Policy provides that total remuneration should not exceed 65% of the lowest pay point of the Secretaries structure. The policy applies to all classifications. For details see: www.apsc.gov.au/publication/executive-remuneration-management-policy
The APS Commissioner can approve remuneration above this point where compelling circumstances apply.
This report presents remuneration data using the classification system outlined in the Public Service Classification Rules 2000: www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2014C01338
A number of agencies use ‘local’ classifications in addition to the approved APS classifications. Remuneration data for local classifications has been assigned to the corresponding APS classification for the purposes of this report.
Australian Government wages policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
In 2020 the Australian Government introduced policies to defer remuneration increases across the Commonwealth public sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This reflected the Government’s view that it would not be appropriate for Commonwealth public sector employees to receive wage increases while Australians were facing significant economic hardship from the pandemic.
From 26 March 2020 all remuneration increases to SES employees were suspended. This continued until June 2021. The suspension applied to general wage increases and, where normally eligible, performance advancement through salary scales and increases to allowances. Agencies were also advised to exercise restraint to the furthest extent possible with the payment of SES bonuses.
For non-SES employees, general wage increases falling due between 14 April 2020 and 13 April 2021 were deferred by six months from the intended date of the increase.
Workplace Relations Policies
APS agencies negotiate their own workplace arrangements within a policy framework established by the Australian Government. For most of the coverage period of this report the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018 allowed for negotiation of remuneration increases up to an average of 2% per annum. As outlined above a large proportion of wage increases scheduled during 2020 were suspended or deferred.
On 13 November 2020 the Government introduced the Public Sector Workplace Relations Policy 2020 (the Policy). The Policy established a direct link between the outcomes in the private sector and wage outcomes in the Commonwealth public sector. Under the new Policy annual remuneration adjustments cannot exceed the most recent year to June Wage Price Index movement for the Private Sector. The impact of the new Policy will not become apparent until the 2021 APS Remuneration Report.
2020 Machinery of Government Changes
Machinery of Government Changes (MOG) that took effect on 1 February 2020 reduced the number of government departments from 18 to 14. There were some significant movements of employees as a result of the disbanding and amalgamation of departments. Where a MOG occurs employees are usually moved to the nearest equivalent, or greater, pay point for their classification in the gaining agency. Salary maintenance arrangements apply where employees’ previous salaries were above the maximum of a gaining agency’s pay scale. MOG changes may have had some impact on the data in this report depending on the differences in gaining and losing agencies’ salary scales.
Headcount is based on data from the Remuneration Survey which will differ from APS Employment Database data due to a different collection scope.