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Senior Executive Fundamentals

Conditions of employment

The Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (GSE Act) sets out the employment and development framework for Public Service senior executives with an emphasis on capabilities, performance, development and mobility.

Legislation and policy both regulate senior executive employment conditions. If you work in the NSW Health Service, NSW Transport Service, or NSW Police Force your conditions may differ with those in the Public Service. Check in with your HR team for more information.

Executives are employed in four senior executive bands in the public service:

  • Band 4—Secretary level
  • Band 3—Deputy Secretary level
  • Band 2—Executive Director level
  • Band 1—Director level

The NSW Public Service Senior Executive Work Level Standards (WLS) determine the appropriate band for senior executive roles. The WLS apply to all senior executive roles in the Public Service, other than Band 4 – Secretary level.  The WLS are descriptive standards which define the type of work that would be expected at Band 1, Band 2 and Band 3. As a senior executive you will be employed in the relevant band and then assigned to a role that falls within that band.

Mobility helps employees experience new areas of work, increase their knowledge, develop their capabilities, and bring new ideas into the workplace. Under the GSE Act, you may be assigned to different roles within your band, your agency or the sector. 

You may also be temporarily assigned to another role in the same band (at level) or a higher band (above level) under the Government Sector Employment Rules 2014 (GSE Rules). The Assignment to Role Guidelines outline the policy and procedures to be followed in implementing the GSE Act provisions and GSE Rules for movement by assignment.

Contract of employment

The GSE Act provides that as a senior executive you must be employed under a written contract of employment signed by you and your employer.

Your contract will identify your key conditions of employment such as the band in which you are employed, the role to which you have been assigned and your total remuneration package. Your contract will also cover your entitlement to leave, to compensation should your contract be terminated and to any agreed part-time work arrangement.

The GSE Rules prescribe the model contracts of employment for all executives. The model contract for an executive who is not a Secretary or agency head is set out in Schedule 1 of the GSE Rules.


Senior executives are paid a total remuneration package based on their band and contract with their employer. The Statutory and Other Offices Remuneration Tribunal (SOORT) determines the minimum and maximum package for each band. These are reviewed annually. 

As an executive, your package includes monetary remuneration and employment benefits such as superannuation. If you are employed on a part-time basis you are paid pro-rata remuneration.

The NSW Public Service Senior Executive Remuneration Management Framework outlines the approach for determining where within a band a senior executive role is placed for the purposes of remuneration. 

Your contract of employment will indicate your package at the time you were initially assigned to your role. This may be adjusted over time within the remuneration range for your band in accordance with SOORT’s annual determination, or through your agency’s formal performance management system.

Leave provisions

Senior executives are entitled to leave in accordance with the GSE Act, the Government Sector Employment Regulation 2014 (GSE Regulation) and the GSE Rules The GSE Regulation provides that the leave provisions set out in the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Reviewed Award 2009 apply to executives. These include provisions for recreation leave, extended leave, sick leave, parental leave, family and community services leave, purchased leave and leave loading. 

Hours of work

Under the GSE Rules, your employer may approve your request to work part-time. You will need to make a formal agreement with your employer that specifies the days you will be available to work.

The GSE Rules do not entitle you to flex leave for working flexible hours, or to payment for working overtime.