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Would You Work Longer Hours?

Jacaranda Team

Jacaranda Team

May 24, 20172 minute read
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Public servants at the ATO are up in arms over a 9-minute daily increase to their work hours.

Unions and some workers are complaining as to how unfair the deal is for them to be asked to work back until 5:00 pm. A recent article by Channel Nine has highlighted that staff at the ATO were asked to extend their finish time from 4:51 to 5:00pm and were outraged by their employer’s refusal to pay them for the extra 9 minutes.

So, why is everyone up in arms about this?

Now most of us in the private sector would probably respond with, “What is the big deal over an extra 9 minutes?”

Flexi days, time in lieu, accumulated leave etc. are just a few of the perks that public servants receive. This can be unheard of in the private sector.

ATO boss’s expressed that the unusual finishing time was not in line with normal expectations among the community and have pushed to have the finishing time extended to 5:00pm with a pay rise of 1.5%.

Most of us would think this would be quite reasonable. However, unions and ATO workers rejected the offer as this would result in staff working an extra 3 hrs a month or 4.5 days a year.

One consideration is that ATO workers have the shortest working hours of any branch of the Australian public service. Despite this, the enterprise bargaining agreement has been going on since 2013. It is now stretching into its third year of negotiations with no pay rise within the department during this time.

Should we have standard work hours in all government departments?

The growing response is yes, with many feeling public servant jobs are overpaid for the amount of work expected to be produced.

What are ordinary hours anyway?

Ordinary hours are an employee’s normal and regular hours of work, which do not attract overtime rates.

An employee can work a maximum of 38 ordinary hours in a week before having to be paid overtime.

Ordinary hours are between 7am – 7pm, this means employees can work their ordinary 38hours a week spread between these times (agreed upon by employer & employee as to work hours), before having to be paid overtime.

For example if an employee works from 7:00am 5 days a week their ordinary hours would finish at around 2:30 pm. They would be able to claim overtime after these hours (lunch breaks would also need to be considered in the equation).

As for the ATO and their additional 9 minutes, a spokeswoman had this to say:

“We remain committed to reaching an agreement that provides a good outcome for staff, the ATO, the government and the Australian taxpayer.”

Let’s hope they can reach a solution to their work week sooner rather than later!

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Jacaranda Team
Jacaranda Team

Written by Jacaranda Team

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