Financial Services

Staff-related Payments Policy

Payments to staff cannot be authorised by the staff member receiving payment and hierarchical authority applies: ensure documentation is duly authorised and completed.

Policy statement

For payments to be made to staff for per diems or for one-off payments, consult Payments to Individuals for details when making these payments and for the associated forms. For instances where a Business Unit is providing a contribution to the purchase of equipment (such as a laptop computer) for a staff member, the hierarchical authority must authorise this contribution.

Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) may also apply. For further details regarding FBT implications contact Financial Services, Taxation.

Travel allowances/per diems

A travel or per diem allowance is a definite, predetermined amount to cover the estimated reasonable travel costs of the recipient. The approved allowance is paid regardless of the actual travel costs incurred.

On receipt of payment requests with hierarchical approval, allowances are paid by Human Resources through the Payroll System. Allowances are regarded as assessable income for taxation purposes and are generally subject to PAYG tax instalment deductions.

However, the University is not required to deduct PAYG tax instalments where the allowance is paid in accordance with the rates and maximums prescribed in the current Australian Taxation Ruling and Staff Awards. It is expected that:

  • expenses up to at least the amount of the allowance will be incurred by the staff member
  • the expenses will be incurred for the purpose for which the allowance is paid (that is, necessarily incurred on work related travel)
  • the expenses would have been tax-deductible to the employee.

The payment of per diem allowances are outside the scope of GST. When staff/students use a per diem allowance to pay travel expenses within Australia, the staff member/student is liable for any GST payable. Neither the staff member/student nor the University will be able to claim a GST credit from the Australian Taxation Office.

As per diem allowances constitute a salary payment, Payroll Tax applies to the per diem payment and will be charged to the Business Units in addition to the authorised allowance payment.

For policy and taxation considerations see Payments to Individuals.

Allowances for domestic travel

Per diem allowances for travel within Australia includes payment for accommodation, meals and incidentals. If an allowance is paid, generally there is no reimbursement for actual travel expenses.

Where a per diem allowance is payable in connection with travel by private vehicle, the allowance will be calculated on the basis of the elapsed time had travel been by air. In cases where air travel by regularly scheduled service is not possible, the allowance may be calculated on the actual time elapsed.

Allowances for international travel

Per diem allowances for travel outside Australia include payment for meals and incidentals only. In addition, reimbursement of actual expenditure can be obtained for accommodation, airport taxes and charges, transport and telephone and postage charges. Staff should keep a diary of expenditure and obtain receipts where possible for acquittal of the travel and for reimbursement purposes.

Allowance limits

The maximum allowance shall not be greater than the lower of the rates prescribed in the relevant Staff Agreements or the Australian Taxation Office rulings.