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Ordinary Time Earnings in Australia & How to Calculate Them

23/03/2023 by
The Marketing Team
In Australia, the concept of ordinary time earnings (OTE) is essential for the calculation of superannuation contributions for employees. It refers to the amount of money an employee earns for their ordinary hours of work, excluding any overtime or additional allowances. It is essential to understand what payments are classified as OTE as employers are […]
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In Australia, the concept of ordinary time earnings (OTE) is essential for the calculation of superannuation contributions for employees. It refers to the amount of money an employee earns for their ordinary hours of work, excluding any overtime or additional allowances. It is essential to understand what payments are classified as OTE as employers are legally obligated to pay superannuation contributions. This Business Kitz article will cover the definition of OTE, what payments are classified as OTE, and how to calculate OTE.

Why is OTE essential?

OTE is an essential concept for both employers and employees, as it determines the amount of superannuation contributions that an employer is required to make on behalf of their employees. It is also defined in the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992. In Australia, employers are legally obligated to pay a minimum of 10% of each eligible employee's OTE into a complying superannuation fund. This is known as the Superannuation Guarantee (SG).

The SG is also calculated on the basis of an employee's OTE, which means that if an employee's OTE increases, their employer's SG contributions will also increase. Therefore, understanding how to calculate OTE accurately is crucial for employers to ensure they are meeting their legal obligations.

What payments are considered to be OTE?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) provides a comprehensive list of payments that are considered to be OTE. These payments include:

  • Wages and salaries, including commissions, bonuses, and allowances paid to employees as part of their ordinary hours of work.
  • Annual leave and long service leave paid as part of an employee's ordinary hours of work.
  • Paid sick leave and paid personal/carer's leave.
  • Payments for public holidays taken as part of an employee's ordinary hours of work.
  • Overtime payments for hours worked outside of an employee's ordinary hours of work if it is a regular and systematic part of their employment.
  • Shift loadings and other penalty rates paid as part of an employee's ordinary hours of work.
  • Payments for work-related allowances such as tool allowances and uniform allowances, provided they are not considered to be reimbursement for expenses.
  • Payments for certain types of leave, including maternity, paternity, and adoption leave, if they are taken as part of an employee's ordinary hours of work.

It is important to note that the above list is not exhaustive and there may be other payments that can be included in OTE. Employers should seek professional advice to ensure they are correctly calculating their employees' superannuation entitlements.

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Is overtime included in OTE?

As mentioned earlier, OTE includes payments made to an employee for their ordinary hours of work. This means that overtime payments are generally not included in the calculation of OTE, unless the overtime is considered to be a regular and systematic part of the employee's employment.

The ATO provides guidelines for determining whether overtime payments should be included in the calculation of OTE. If an employee consistently works overtime hours that are a regular and systematic part of their employment, then the overtime payments may be considered to be part of their OTE. However, if the overtime is irregular or occasional, it is unlikely to be included in the calculation of OTE.

Calculating OTE

Calculating OTE can be complex, as it involves considering different types of payments and allowances. Here are some key steps to help employers calculate OTE accurately:

1. Determine the employee's ordinary hours of work

The first step in calculating OTE is to determine the employee's ordinary hours of work. This is usually specified in the employee's employment contract or award.

2. Identify the employee's earnings

The next step is to identify all the earnings that are included in OTE. This includes the employee's base salary, commissions, bonuses, and allowances that relate to the employee's ordinary hours of work. Allowances that are specifically excluded from OTE include those for travel, meals, and accommodation.

3. Determine the value of leave payments

If an employee has taken leave during the relevant pay period, the value of those leave payments must be calculated at the employee's ordinary rate of pay. This includes annual leave, sick leave, and any other forms of paid leave.

4. Add up all earnings and leave payments

The final step is to add up all the earnings and leave payments identified in steps 2 and 3 to arrive at the employee's OTE for the relevant pay period.

Additionally, there are various tools available to help employers calculate OTE accurately. Many payroll software systems have OTE calculators built in, which can simplify the process. Alternatively, the ATO provides an OTE calculator on their website, which can be a useful resource for employers.

Final Thoughts

In summary, ordinary time earnings (OTE) are the earnings an employee receives for their ordinary hours of work and are used to calculate the minimum amount of superannuation contributions that employers must make for their employees. OTE includes wages and salaries, annual leave and long service leave, paid sick leave and personal/carer's leave, payments for public holidays and work-related allowances, as well as certain types of leave if they are taken as part of an employee's ordinary hours of work. Overtime payments are generally not included in the calculation of OTE, unless the overtime is considered to be a regular and systematic part of the employee's employment.

It is important for employers to understand what payments are considered to be OTE and how to calculate it correctly, as failure to do so can result in penalties and liabilities. Seeking professional advice from an accountant or financial advisor can assist employers in ensuring they meet their obligations with regards to superannuation contributions.

Legal Advice

If you have any questions regarding ordinary time earnings or any legal matters, please do not hesitate to contact our sister company, Legal Kitz. The Legal Kitz team are happy to assist you. You can request to book a free 30-minute consultation with their experienced and highly qualified team via our website now. Additionally, you can also check out the Business Kitz subscription service today to access our full range of legal, commercial and employment documents to begin your business with a solid foundation that ensures compliance.

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The Marketing Team
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