The Definition of “Salary” or “Remuneration”

In the case of final salary Defined Benefit Funds it is extremely easy to steal $100,000s from Members simply by misrepresenting how “final average salary” should be calculated as defined in the Trust Deed and Rules.

Often the definition of “salary” will be related to an employee’s “yearly rate of remuneration” with some prescribed components of remuneration to be excluded in accordance with the Rules of the Fund. A typical exclusion is “overtime payments“.

In the Butterworths Australian Legal Dictionary , ‘remuneration’ is relevantly defined as follows:

Payment, reward, or recompense for services rendered: Chalmers v Commonwealth [1946] HCA 37; (1946) 73 CLR 19. Remuneration is a quid pro quo; the consideration a person receives in exchange for his or her service, generally in the form of wages or salaries:R v Postmaster General [1876] 1 QBD 658.

In Chalmers v. Commonwealth (1946) 73 CLR 19 at 37, Williams J stated that the ‘ordinary meaning of remuneration is pay for services rendered’. Accordingly, as the term is generally used to describe receipts by an individual from employment or provision of independent personal services.

The Australian Tax Office has a clear understanding of “remuneration” and each employee’s (beneficiary’s) “yearly rate of remuneration” is reported by the Employer each year to the Australian Tax Office on each beneficiary’s Payment Summary (Group Certificate) .

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