ATO staff refuse request to work until 5pm

Guess who has the shortest working hours in the public service?

For staff working at the Australian Tax Office (ATO), knock-off time is 4:51pm each day, precisely. Yep, for real.

  • It might sound like we’re kidding, but we’re not! The ATO have the shortest working hours of any branch of the Australian public service.
  • ATO bosses have acknowledged this, and agree that the strange knock-off time of 4:51pm isn’t in line with community expectations of a public service organisation.
  • But they can’t get staff to agree!

Push to extend ATO work day by 9 minutes

  • ATO management have conceded that their working hours are inefficient and don’t meet community standards.
  • But a proposal to extend the ATO work day by 9 minutes to instead finish at 5pm has been flatly refused by ATO staff.
  • This is despite the fact that a pay rise was being offered, as part of ongoing enterprise agreement negotiations.

Pay rise offered in return for extended workday

  • The proposal was to extend the ATO workday by 9 minutes to 5pm.
  • This would have resulted in staff working an extra 3 hours a month, or a total of an extra 4.5 days a year.
  • In return, a pay rise of 1.5% was offered.
  • However, staff unions have led a campaign resisting any official increase in working hours, telling ATO staff to vote ‘no’.

Failed negotiations

  • As a result, ATO enterprise agreement negotiations are now into their third year.
  • ATO staff haven’t had a pay rise since 2013.
  • And once an agreement is finally reached they won’t receive any back pay for the time that’s passed during negotiations.

Greater productivity needed

  • The push to extend quitting time to 5pm was both to bring working hours in line with the standard expected by the community, and to increase productivity.
  • Working an extra 9 minutes a day would have boosted staff productivity by 2%.

Most staff work longer hours anyway!

  • Fortunately, it seems commonsense prevails for most ATO staff regardless.
  • The majority of ATO staff routinely work well past the official knock-off time of 4:51pm.
  • They acknowledge that the strange time just isn’t in line with community standards, and stay back to get the job done.

And with no end to the stalemate in sight just yet, hopefully they continue to do so!