The Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (GSE Act) provides for a single and more mobile executive structure in the Public Service. It sets out a common employment and development framework for Public Service senior executives (PSSEs), with an emphasis on capabilities, performance, development and mobility.

Legislation and policy both regulate PSSE employment conditions. The legislation aligns certain entitlements with those that apply to non-executive employees or that are set out in policy, which can change from time to time.

Since the GSE Act commenced additional reforms have aligned the senior executive employment arrangements in the NSW Health Service, NSW Transport Service, and NSW Police Force with those in the Public Service. In other words, the employment arrangements outlined in this topic align to the NSW Health Service, NSW Transport Service and NSW Police Force but only to the extent provided for in the legislation that governs each of these services (refer to Senior executive insights). 

PSSE employment structure

PSSEs are employed in bands determined by the Premier. The Government Sector Employment (Senior Executive Bands) Determination 2014 prescribes four senior executive bands:

  • 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) is the main classifying tool for determining 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 comprise a hierarchy of descriptive standards which define the type of work that would be expected at Band 1, Band 2 and Band 3. Once the band is determined for a new senior executive role using the WLS and the role description finalised, a role evaluation is used to determine the work value points and place the role within the band. As a senior executive you will be employed in the relevant band and then assigned to a role that falls within that band.

Contract of employment

The GSE Act provides that as a senior executive you must be employed under a written model 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 Government Sector Employment (General) Rules 2014 (GSE (General) Rules) prescribe the model contracts of employment for all PSSEs. The model contract for a PSSE who is not a Secretary or agency head is Schedule 1 of the GSE (General) Rules.

An example contract of employment

Total remuneration package

The GSE Act provides that all senior executives must be paid a total remuneration package (TRP). The Statutory and Other Offices Remuneration Tribunal (SOORT) determines the minimum and maximum TRP for each band. It makes an annual remuneration determination that can adjust the TRP ranges and is effective from 1 July of that year. The following remuneration ranges came into effect on 1 July 2019:

Band Minimum TRP ($) Maximum TRP ($)
Band 4 – Secretary level 487,051 562,650
Band 3 – Deputy Secretary level 345,551 487,050
Band 2 – Executive Director level 274,701 345,550
Band 1 – Director level 192,600 274,700

For more information on SOORT’s current and previous determinations, see the website: NSW Remuneration Tribunals.

As a PSSE, your TRP comprises monetary remuneration and employment benefits. Employment benefits comprise your employer's contributions to your superannuation scheme or fund and any other private benefits that your contract specifies are to be provided to you at the cost of your employer. If you are employed on a part-time basis you are paid pro-rata remuneration.

Although your TRP is flexible, it must comply with relevant superannuation legislation and the Australian Taxation Office's requirements.

Remuneration increases over time

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 TRP at the time you were initially assigned to your senior executive role. There are two ways this TRP may be adjusted over time within the remuneration range for your band: in accordance with SOORT’s annual determination effective 1 July each year, or through your agency’s formal performance management system.


The GSE Act and GSE (General) Rules include a number of mobility provisions that help employees and employers respond to workforce needs and develop employee capabilities. Mobility helps employees experience new areas of work, increase their knowledge, develop their capabilities, and bring new ideas into the workplace. 

As a PSSE you are employed within a band rather than in a specific role. Once employed you are ‘assigned’  a role under Section 38 of the GSE Act; that is, you are allocated to a role. You may be subsequently assigned to different roles within your band,  in the same Public Service agency or in another.  Assignment to another role is the primary mechanism of mobility within your band.

You may also be temporarily assigned to another role in the same band (at level) or a higher band (above level), within your Public Service agency or in another. You would be temporarily assigned to a role (under GSE (General) Rule 11) instead of being assigned (under Section 38 of the GSE Act) if you were:

  1. only needed in the role for a defined period (usually short) with a specified end date
  2. expected to return to their most recently assigned role at the end of the temporary assignment.

If you are temporarily assigned to a role with a higher level of remuneration and work value, you may be eligible for a Temporary Assignment Allowance.  The Public Service Commission Assignment to Role Guidelines outline the policy and procedures to be followed in implementing the GSE Act provisions for movement by assignment.

Leave provisions

The leave provisions set out in the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Reviewed Award 2009 (Conditions Award) apply to PSSEs. These include provisions for recreation leave, extended leave, sick leave, parental leave, family and community services leave, purchased leave and leave loading. For more information on the Conditions Award, see the website:  NSW Industrial Relations Commission - Industrial Gazette

You can elect at any time to be paid the money value of your accrued annual or extended leave, subject to the requirement in the Conditions Award to take 10 days annual leave each year. In some cases the Government Sector Employment Regulation 2014 requires that the monetary value of accrued leave be determined based on your 'notional salary'. This is your TRP minus the superannuation guarantee amount you are liable to pay. The formula for calculating your notional salary is updated each financial year and published in a Treasury circular. For more information on the current circular, see the website: Public Sector Industrial Relations - Information for Agencies

Hours of work

Under the GSE (General) 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 (General) Rules do not entitle you to flex leave for working flexible hours, or to payment for working overtime.

Post-separation employment

Post-separation employment is when a public official leaves the public sector and obtains employment in the private sector. As a PSSE you should not use your position to obtain opportunities for future employment, nor should you allow yourself or your work to be influenced by plans for or offers of employment outside your employing Department or agency. It is essential that public sector decisions be made on their merits and never compromised by extraneous considerations or personal interests.

The model contract of employment for PSSEs contains mandatory provisions relating to the disclosure or use of confidential or secret information you acquire as a consequence of your employment. It also contains a provision relating to the ownership of intellectual property you develop in the course of your employment.

Employers and employees should be aware of any potential risk of corruption associated with post-separation employment. For more information on post-separation employment, see the website: Independent Commission Against Corruption.