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Hard-up Australian Tax Office says it can't afford long-service gifts

The Australian Taxation Office says it is too broke to afford gifts for workers who have given it two decades of service.

The ATO has a system that recognises staff leaving after 20 years or more with the office, with a gift worth up to $300 as a token of appreciation for their years of effort.

But senior managers were told last week that the tradition will be history from July 1.

Fairfax revealed on Thursday that Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan is building plush offices for himself and his closest deputies on the top floor of the office's Latitude East building in Sydney's CBD.

Do you know more? Send your confidential tips to ps@canberratimes.com.au

About 50 rank-and-file employees have been given their marching orders to accommodate the renovations and look likely to be sent 25 kilometres west to Parramatta.

Money was also found last week to fund dozens more redundancies as the cash-strapped ATO looks to cut 900 jobs by the end of June.

Nearly 2200 ATO staff are jostling for just a few hundred places in the redundancy program. The extra packages came as a welcome pre-Easter surprise for up to 100 tax officials who feared they would miss out on a golden handshake. But those workers departing after 20 years or more at their desks, should not expect a keepsake from their bosses.

In a memo sent out last week to senior tax managers around the country, ATO human resources chief Jacqui Curtis said there was not enough money for gifts for the departing veterans.

Instead, the nation's long-serving tax officials will get ''a framed recognition of service certificate'' after 20 years of service.

They will also be offered a small presentation ceremony with light refreshments for themselves and their colleagues. For those with 10 to 19 years of toil under their belts,

there will be a letter. ''As a result of a recent review, it was agreed that, from 1 July, 2014, separation gifts will be removed as a rewards and recognition option, to be replaced with an increase in the range of opportunities available to recognise high performance,'' Ms Curtis wrote.

''Given this high cost, and the associated administrative burden, it has been decided that employees leaving the ATO under a VR [voluntary redundancy] process with 20 years of service, or more, will now receive: a framed recognition of service certificate [and] the opportunity to be presented with their certificate at a site presentation ceremony, with light refreshments provided.

'' Employees with 10-19 years of service will receive a recognition of service letter.''

 

15 comments

  • poor employees. there are thousands of us in Canberra that served much longer than 20 years in the one organisation and received nothing as recognition for the dedicated service.

    Commenter
    well well
    Location
    flynn ACT
    Date and time
    April 22, 2014, 8:00AM
    • they got long service leave, which small business owners don't get. Hardly nothing.

      Welcome to THE REAL WORLD !!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Commenter
      ian
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 8:57AM
    • Really!!!!! I am sick to death of all the hard done by people in the private sector that apparently work harder than everybody else in Australia. Stop your bitching. We all have choices. If yours is to sit in a job that your not happy with and bitch about everybody else maybe you need to have a look at yourself. Before you go off bitching again I have worked in the private sector.

      Commenter
      sour grapes
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 9:09AM
    • @sour grapes *applause*

      Commenter
      Deutsch
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 12:16PM
    • Applause for you Sour Grapes. I am so sick of these holier than thou private sector types who think that no one is doing it as tough as them and dump on public servants because successive Liberal governments have made them a target. If you can't handle it, sell your business (assuming it's worth anything) and get a job. Make sure it's in the private sector so you can complain about the boss and how you were never like that.

      BTW, I did my time along with 5 or 6 other people and got a small medallion and a bring a plate morning tea. HR person forgot I was supposed to be a recipient until I reminded her.

      Commenter
      Woot!
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 3:28PM
    • I'd much rather see a few people rewarded for many years of hard work than an ATO payout of $882 million to Mr Murdoch's News Corp for some creative accounting involving shuffling around assets between its subsidiaries. That's just me though. Now back to the outrage regarding a few long serving employees...

      Commenter
      Sooz
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 3:59PM
  • 20 years wages should be sufficient thanks for 20 years of dedicated work. In other workplaces Farewell gifts are provided by social clubs using members contributions so I'm not sure why the Tax Office is any different. Social clubs also supply the milk for morning tea and fund the occasional BBQ, birthday gift and Christmas lunch. Are the taxpayers supplying these to the ATO staff too?

    Commenter
    Philip
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    April 22, 2014, 8:55AM
    • Christmas Lunch? tea or coffee? Are you serious? There is no tea, coffee, milk, let alone a lunch or morning tea. Lucky if there is toilet paper in the bathrooms (where the tiles are falling off the walls).

      You may want to attack the public servants but the truth is there is no perks. But I guess Public Servants should basically work for free, then the community would be happy and feel they get value for money?

      Commenter
      Seriously?
      Date and time
      April 23, 2014, 1:22PM
  • Ha! Must have been a relatively new initiative as when I was there I got a 20yr certificate (framed) and when I left, my staff provided morning tea and I wrote the farewell for a peer (as my boss was busy!) Still at the mew dept, it seems HR forgot my 25 and 30 yrs APS service and we had a 'team and friends' farewell morning tea.

    Commenter
    Been there
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    April 22, 2014, 9:08AM
    • Maybe somebody is fibbing here? After 30 years I never received a "gift". I did get a plaque (ie piece of paper with my name and years of service in a cheap, plastic frame). $300 gift??? This is the first time I've heard of this tradition. I reckon this is made up because someone would have mentioned it over the last 30 years. I got a hand shake from the Commissioner but that probably wasn't worth $300.

      Mind you, maybe this is a National Office tradition and never made it to all the other offices around the country.

      Commenter
      Sir Francis
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 9:15AM

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