Super salary

We'll help you to correctly determine and report salaries for your employees who are contributing members of CSS, PSS and PSSap.

What is super salary?

Super salary determines the amount of super contributions that you pay for your employees who are members of one of our schemes. It may differ from their gross salary and their ordinary time earnings.

In CSS and PSS, super salary is used to calculate the amount of member contributions and productivity contributions. We also use super salary to determine the amount of employer contributions that you must pay.

These rules apply to regular employees of eligible public sector employers who are contributing members of CSS, PSS and PSSap. 

Please note

Super salary for employees paid a total remuneration package or shift penalties needs to be calculated differently. Please refer to our Shift allowance administration guide here, and keep your eye out for our Total remuneration packages guide which will be published soon.

Determinations and Agreements

It’s possible to specify a super salary for your employees in a number of different instruments, including:

  • Enterprise agreements
  • Remuneration tribunal determinations
  • Individual flexibility agreements
  • Workplace determinations

When a salary is validly specified this will override other rules around allowances. It is important that any variations to the rules in the Salary Regulations are clearly and expressly stated in the relevant instrument.

Super salary for contributing PSSap members

There are two methods for calculating the super salary for employees who contribute to PSSap:

  1. Fortnightly Contribution Salary (FCS), and
  2. Ordinary Time Earnings (OTE).

FCS is the default method of salary calculation for PSSap and should be used for every PSSap member where OTE is not specified in a relevant agreement or determination.

You can use OTE to calculate super salary for your employees if it is specified in a relevant agreement or determination. This includes enterprise agreements, remuneration determinations and workplace determinations.You can find out more about OTE here.

Super salary for CSS, PSS and PSSap FCS members

In CSS, PSS and PSSap (FCS), salaries are set when your employee starts a new period of scheme membership, and are generally only updated once per year, on their birthday. This means that super salaries don’t change between birthdays, even where there has been a change to your employee’s take home pay.

The process of checking your employee’s salary and making any necessary adjustments is known as a salary review, or a birthday review.

At the salary review, you should determine your employee’s super salary as the highest of:

  1. the super salary at your employee’s last review;
  2. the highest amount of base salary plus recognised allowances received from their last review to the current review; or,
  3. the base salary plus recognised allowances that they are receiving at the date of the current review.

You also need to complete a salary review whenever a CSS member ceases their membership (for example by resigning, being made redundant or retiring), and whenever a PSS member ceases employment due to redundancy.

This final review takes into account any changes to their super salary since the last salary review.

Super salaries generally won't decrease. If you identify a reduction during the salary review, you need to apply the salary maintenance rules found in the Salary maintenance section below.

Rules for allowances

Super salary in CSS, PSS and PSSap generally only include ‘recognised allowances’. Allowances can be divided into two categories based on when they become ‘recognised’. These are commonly known as automatic allowances and qualifying allowances.

Automatic allowances

Automatic allowances are included in your employee’s super salary from the first salary review after they start to be paid. There is no minimum amount of time that an employee must receive an allowance before it becomes recognised for super purposes.

Automatic allowances include allowances that are payable:

  • because your employee has a certain skill (e.g. first aid allowance);
  • because your employee has a certain qualification; and
  • allowances that are payable to your employee in respect of housing (including the rent-free use of housing available due to holding a particular office or performing particular duties).

Qualifying allowances

Qualifying allowances are included in your employee’s super salary at the first salary review after one of the following conditions is met:

  • the employee has received the allowance for a continuous period of greater than 12 months, or
  • a ‘likelihood certificate’ is completed

There are six qualifying allowances:

  1. higher duties allowance (HDA),
  2. on-call allowance,
  3. supervisory allowance,
  4. allowances payable in lieu of overtime or other extra duty work,
  5. hardship allowance, and
  6. allowances not specified elsewhere that are payable because your employee performs any special function as part of their duties or work.

S17A certficates

S17A certificates certify that the conditions to include a qualifying allowance in super salary have been met.

If the relevant delegate at your agency believes there is a likelihood that your employee will continue to receive a qualifying allowance for a period of at least 12 months, they may complete the S17A as a ‘likelihood certificate’.

If a S17A certificate is completed, the qualifying allowance will be included in your employee’s super salary from their next salary review.

The relevant delegate should also complete a S17A certificate when an employee receives a qualifying allowance for a period of greater than 12 months to certify that the allowance has qualified and is to be included in the employee’s super salary. This is useful for audit purposes.

Shift allowance

Shift allowance needs to be handled differently to other allowances. Find out more on our shift allowance page.

Salary maintenance

Super salaries generally won't decrease. If you identify a reduction during the salary review, you need to apply the salary maintenance rules. Find out more on our salary maintenance page.

Changing between OTE and FCS

When a PSSap member transfers from employment where OTE is used to employment where FCS is used, contributions are made as though the membership had always used FCS.

This means that the new employer will need to complete salary reviews for the entire period that OTE was used to account for any salary reductions that may have occurred. If there was a salary reduction while the employee membership was using OTE, the salary maintenance rules will apply.

The previous employer (where OTE was used) will need to provide the individual’s full salary history to their new employer to assist with that review process. An employee can continue to have contributions calculated using OTE if you agree to it in an individual agreement.

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