Government Workers REFUSE To Work Extra NINE MINUTES A Day
Despite having one of the shortest working days in the public service, staff at the Australian Taxation Office have refused to extend their hours by nine minutes a day.
The ATO had told workers that the unusually brief hours were out of whack with "community expectations," The Daily Telegraph reports, and put forward a proposal to a change from seven hours and 21 minutes to seven hours and 30 minutes.
Documents obtained by the ABC further revealed that staff were informed by ATO management that the change - which would push the end of day from 4.51pm to 5pm - would help to boost productivity.
"It's also important to understand that the ATO cannot sustain some of the highest pay rates in the APS with the shortest working day," one of the papers read.
"Additionally, our current working day is not aligned to general community expectations and standards."
A spokesperson from the ATO confirmed that the proposal had been abandoned.
"Subsequent offers that we have put to a staff vote maintained conditions that our employees told us mattered most to them, including the standard working day - that is, removing the proposal to increase the length of the working day," she said.
But Nadine Flood, Community and Public Sector Union national secretary, rejected claims that ATO staff weren't "working hard".
"The idea that tax office staff head home en masse at 4.51pm is ludicrous," she said.
"Our members are working longer hours than ever, including unpaid overtime, because of over 4,000 jobs that have been slashed from the ATO in recent years."
The news has caused widespread debate, with a number of commenters pointing out that other public servants, such as nurses or police officers, are not given the same luxury.
"We are expected to turn up BEFORE our start time, so we can prepare out equipment/ work station and not get paid for it," one post read, while another added: "Police officers, nurses, they don't get [overtime] for extra 10 or 15 minutes."
Further feedback from staff to "[ensure] that we can meet our service commitments to the community" would be sought, the ATO spokesperson said.