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ATO’s “fun” anti-absence incentive crushed by union

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HC Online | 08 Jan 2015, 08:28 AM Agree 0
An incentive introduced over the Christmas period by the Australian Taxation Office to promote full attendance at work was abandoned after the Australian Service Union claimed that it was discriminatory.
  • Kevin | 08 Jan 2015, 11:40 AM Agree 0
    Unions will always object to anything that impacts on their "hard won" conditions of service. If we said that we would pay staff for their sick leave and include it in their salary and superannuation and penalty payments they would claim this too was discrimination. Such is the world we live in.
  • michael minns | 08 Jan 2015, 07:06 PM Agree 0
    Sick leave is a benefit not an entitlement and is to be used for the benefit of sick people. Having the job itself should be the only incentive. If the employees are using, on the average up three weeks sick leave a year then there is a recruitment problem and a culture issue. The person responsible for the culture is the manager. Stop treating the symptoms and start fixing the problems.
  • Deborah | 09 Jan 2015, 03:13 PM Agree 0
    This exemplifies all that is wrong with the public service mentality and the stupidity of union officials. Lets also remember that the majority of non-public service staff are entitled to far less personal leave and averages much lower utilisation... something is wrong with this and any initiative that addresses the rort of taxpayer dollars is a step in the right direction.
  • MM | 11 Jan 2015, 10:24 PM Agree 0
    If the ATO "encourages staff to use their entitlements appropriately" then rewarding staff by turning up when they are actually sick (so as to not miss out on prizes or have others win lesser prizes) doesn't actually seem the way to go. The assumption of these managers must have been that in December no-one gets sick and any time off must be an abuse of leave.
  • Jenny | 12 Jan 2015, 09:28 AM Agree 0
    Fancy a union not being happy with an employers attempt to reward to good behaviour!?!
  • Amanda Rochford | 12 Jan 2015, 12:07 PM Agree 0
    It doesnt take much to extract the old "public servants are lazy" and the "unions are a menace" comments does it. Unions are simply a body that represents a collective. Union bashers usually think of unions who represent workers. However, the APSC represents the public service as a whole, the chamber of commerce represents business interests, and professional bodies represent the interests of architects, psychologists, mining corporations etc. These all operate as unions - they represent the views of their membership and speak with a united voice. To disparage workers for joining a union while management belongs to a professional group or chamber of commerce is hypocritical.

    On the matter of public servants - I have been a public servant for over 30 years and have never worked in private enterprise. The pursuit of money above everything else simply doesnt fit my value system. However, everytime I meet a current public servant who has come from private enterprise I always ask them how they find it, what do they like, what do they dislike etc. The responses have inevitably centered on the idea that the public servants work much harder than they are given credit for by the private sector. The second major difference is the constraints that a government department must work within that dont apply to a private corporation and which add layers of complexity simply not experienced within the private sector. The third difference is that the public sector is usually ahead of the game in terms of ideas and concepts such as HR and Finance & Governance but way behind in areas such as IT flexibility.

    When people take sick leave it is because they are sick, or stressed. The doctors know which departments are the most stressed working environments. You cant just take a sickie, you must provide documentation from an appropriately qualified medical practioner, just like in private enterprise.

    Hopefully people will begin to understand that there is not much difference between people no matter where they work or who they choose to represent them in collective bargaining situations. We all get sick, and we all have to negotiate our working conditions and salary.
  • Lisa | 13 Jan 2015, 09:28 AM Agree 0
    A $2 scratch card isn't going to entice a worker to be at work when they are of the mindset they can be paid to stay at home for the day by utilising a sick day. I agree with Michael Minns. There are much deeper cultural issues at work here and band aids such as 'rewarding' people to be at work will only mask the issue if they actually have any effect at all. One potential issue in cases where there is such high absenteeism is staff members who are tired of picking up the slack of other employees who are continually absent start to abuse sick leave entitlement because of the unfairness they perceive when others can be off work on paid sick leave with no consequence. There isn't much an employer can do about excessive absenteeism other than aggressively addressing every instance where there is a breach of policy for example not notifying or submitting necessary documentation. Average of three weeks per employee per year is huge, much work needs to be done at the ATO if they want to reduce this to the industry average.
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