• Attendance and working patterns

    80. Timekeeping


    Recording attendance


    An employee shall record the actual times of their commencing and ceasing duty in such a manner as is required at the particular workplace.

    81. Flexible working patterns


    Hours of duty


    The ATO will operate a system of flexible hours of duty.



    The system will not apply to shift workers or employees engaged for irregular or intermittent duties.


    Specified hours


    For full time employees, the specified hours are 147 hours in a four week period.



    For regular part time employees, the specified hours are the hours agreed in their part time work agreement.


    Settlement period


    A settlement period is a four week period commencing on a Thursday and finishing on a Wednesday. Each settlement period will comprise two, fortnightly, pay periods.


    Regular hours


    Regular hours are defined as the employee's agreed pattern of duty by which they will work the specified hours. This may operate in conjunction with flextime or flexible hours arrangements.



    An employee and their manager will agree on the employee's regular hours within the bandwidth hours set out below. The regular hours can be changed through agreement between the employee and their manager to take effect from the beginning of the next settlement period. Either the employee or manager can initiate such a review.



    In reaching an agreement about an employee's regular hours, the right balance to satisfy that employee's needs and the needs of clients should be achieved.



    If no agreement can be reached, a full time employee's regular hours will be the standard hours of duty for the workplace, with access to flextime or flexible hours arrangements in accordance with clause 82 and 83. For part time employees, regular hours will be those specified in their part time work agreement.



    Regular hours will consist of a start and finish time and a meal break time for each day of attendance where appropriate. A meal break of at least 30 minutes must be included if the continuous hours of work on a day will exceed 5 hours. The maximum hours an employee can work in a workplace subject to the regular bandwidth is ten working hours per day.



    A manager may require an employee to work all or part of their regular hours on a given day where there are clear operational requirements. This provision does not imply that a manager can require an employee not to work during regular hours due to lack of work on that particular day.


    Worked continuously


    Regular hours shall be worked continuously except for meal breaks.


    Regular bandwidth


    For general employees the bandwidth for ordinary working hours in all Business and Service Lines (BSL) is 7.00 am to 7.00 pm, Monday to Friday, unless varied under the extended bandwidth provisions in clauses 81.15 to 81.17.



    The bandwidth for EL2 employees for regular working hours across all areas of the ATO is 7.00am to 7.00pm, Monday to Friday, unless formally varied through agreement with their manager.


    Extended bandwidth - general employees


    If an NPM and a majority of the affected employees agree, approval may be given to vary the arrangements within all or any part of the BSL so the bandwidth for ordinary working hours may range from 7.00 am up to 9.00 pm. It will still be up to an individual employee to agree on their regular hours in conjunction with the manager.



    Under this arrangement the maximum working time an employee can be credited for in a day will be 12 hours and 15 minutes.



    BSLs should monitor the implementation of the new arrangements to assess the impact on the health and well-being of the employees in the workplace.


    Extended bandwidth for employees engaged in field work - general employees


    A trial whereby an individual employee engaged in field work may initiate an extended bandwidth under this clause will be undertaken during the life of the Agreement.



    During the trial, individual employees engaged in field work will be able to initiate, by giving notice in writing, a proposal to work an extended bandwidth up to 9 pm subject to the following conditions:

    a. any proposal must be agreed to by the manager, and is at the manager's discretion;

    b. any proposal may be terminated by the ATO giving 5 working days' notice in writing if satisfied that the arrangement is no longer in the best interests of the efficient and economic administration of ATO business;

    c. employees may elect to work extended bandwidth on certain days of the week only (e.g. Tuesday and Thursday or Monday to Wednesday only);

    d. use of extended bandwidth will not substitute for appropriate overtime;

    e. employees must give five working days notice before starting to work under an extended bandwidth; and

    f. working flextime under such an extended bandwidth scheme is subject to the provisions of clause 82 but an employee may not work longer than 10 hours on any one day.


    Standard hours of duty


    The commencing and finishing times of the standard hours of duty for a workplace must be set within the regular bandwidth.



    The current standard hours are 8.30 am to 12.30 pm, 1.30 to 4.51 pm. The Commissioner will consult with affected employees and their representatives if it is proposed to alter the current standard hours.


    Leave - general


    Annual Leave, Purchased Leave, Personal Leave and War Service Sick Leave will be deducted from an employee's credits on the basis of absence from duty during regular hours.



    Miscellaneous Leave and Compassionate (including Bereavement) Leave will be calculated on the basis of any absence during the employee's regular hours.



    Where an employee's regular hours on a particular day exceeds 7 hours 21 minutes, the employee may elect for the hours in excess of 7 hours 21 minutes to be deducted from their flextime instead of leave.



    Full time employees may change their regular hours to 7 hours 21 minutes per day for all or part of the settlement period, or periods in which they take Annual Leave in order to ensure access to 20 days Annual Leave per annum.


    Long Service Leave and parental leave types


    For Long Service Leave, Maternity Leave, Maternal Leave, Supporting Partners Leave, Adoption Leave or Foster Parent Leave, timekeeping will be credited on the basis of an average of 7 hours and 21 minutes per day, Monday to Friday, over a full settlement period.



    For regular part time employees, timekeeping will be credited on the basis of the hours specified in their part time work agreement.


    Public holidays


    Regardless of whether a full time employee's regular hours are more than, less than or equal to 7 hours and 21 minutes on a day that is scheduled as a public holiday, they will be credited with 7 hours and 21 minutes for all time keeping purposes for that day unless they actually work on that day. Regular part time employees will be credited for the hours specified in their part time agreement.


    Industrial action


    Employees participating in industrial action during their regular hours, regardless of what those hours are on a particular day, are not entitled to make use of flextime or flexible working arrangements to cover any such period of industrial action.

    82. Flextime


    Flextime is a way of arranging work times to give employees some freedom in choosing individual daily working patterns within certain limits.



    It is not designed to increase or reduce the total number of hours that must be worked.



    Flextime is conditional upon operational requirements being met and an efficient service continuing to be provided to the public.



    Where the Regular Bandwidth applies, employees shall not work more than ten hours (regular hours and flextime) on any one day. Under an Extended Bandwidth, employees may work up to 12 hours and 15 minutes (regular hours and flextime) per day. Employees should not work more than five hours without a meal break of at least thirty minutes. Flextime can only be worked within the bandwidth hours.



    Flex leave is where an employee works less than their nominated regular hours on any day. Prior approval and reasonable notice is required for any flex leave. The manager will consider the needs of employees and the operational requirements of the office when determining whether or not to approve flex leave.



    Where prior approval is not possible due to unforeseen circumstances and an employee wants to commence work more than 1 hour later than their scheduled starting time (under their Regular Hours), they must inform their manager before the scheduled starting time. The manager will determine whether the approval of flex leave is appropriate.



    A flex credit is the accumulation of flextime worked in excess of an employee's regular hours in a settlement period. A flex credit of up to 36.75 hours at the end of a settlement period is an acceptable level of credit for full time employees and may be carried over indefinitely (but not as part of Flex Bank).



    Where an employee has more than the acceptable flex credit at the end of a settlement period because unanticipated work or leave requirements have prevented the taking of excess credits as flex leave, the relevant manager will authorise sufficient flex leave in the next settlement period to reduce the credit to an acceptable level. If this does not happen the employee will be considered to be on flex leave from the start of the subsequent settlement period until the flex credit is reduced to the acceptable level.



    A manager may direct an employee not to work hours in addition to their regular hours where there is insufficient work.



    A flex debit occurs when the time worked in a settlement period is less than the specified hours. A flex debit of up to 15 hours at the end of a settlement period is an acceptable debit and can be carried over indefinitely. Any debit in excess of the acceptable debit at the end of a settlement period will be cancelled using a deduction from salary or, where the manager agrees, a deduction from appropriate leave credits. In special circumstances the manager may allow an employee an additional settlement period to reduce their flex debit to the limit.



    Prior to cessation of employment with the ATO, managers should provide opportunities to enable employees to balance any flex debits or credits. Employees should also take all reasonable steps to balance their flex credits or debits.



    Where the manager agrees that it is not possible for the employee to use flex credits before the cessation of employment, credits up to the maximum carryover amount will be paid to the employee at ordinary rates.



    Any flex debits an employee has if they cease employment with the ATO will be recovered from salary and/or any termination payment owing to the employee, except in the case of death.


    Flex Bank


    In recognition of seasonal peak periods in the ATO where employees carry a higher than normal workload, a system of Flex Bank will operate during those periods. Peak periods will be designated in advance by the National Program Manager. The Flex Bank will provide a flex storing system for up to 50 per cent of an employee's hours in a settlement period in addition to the maximum flex carry over during the designated peak period. The maximum amount of time that may be accrued in Flex Bank is 7 hour 21 minutes per week.



    The relevant manager will authorise Flex Bank leave so that the Flex Bank credit is exhausted prior to the next peak period. If this does not happen the employee will be deemed to be on flex leave from the start of the settlement period prior to the next peak period until the Flex Bank credit is exhausted.



    Participation in Flex Bank is voluntary and employees must have the approval of their manager to accrue time under the Flex Bank arrangements.


    Review of Flex Bank


    The National Consultative Forum will review the Flex Bank arrangements 12 months after the implementation of this condition.



    The review will include:

    a. consideration of whether Flex Bank arrangements are consistent with the terms of the Public Service Commissioner's Directions in relation to balancing work and family life; and

    b. a survey of employees conducted by an independent party.



    The survey will include questions that address the issues of whether employees:

    a. feel that in practice they are free to accept or decline the opportunity to participate in Flex Bank; and

    b. are able to use Flex Bank credits at a time suitable to them.


    Employees not covered by flextime arrangements


    Flextime arrangements do not apply to shift work or to employees engaged for irregular or intermittent duties.



    Employees above the overtime barrier (i.e. the minimum salary payable to an EL1) are not part of the formal flextime scheme. They may work flexible hours by arrangement with their manager.


    Withdrawal of flextime provisions


    Where a manager has previously warned or counselled an employee about the misuse of flexible arrangements (including flextime), or a serious matter warranting immediate action arises, the manager may direct the employee to:

    a. work regular hours without access to flextime, or

    b. work 8.30 am to 4.51 pm, with or without flextime.



    Regular part-time employees who misuse the flexible hours arrangements may be restricted to their agreed part time hours (in effect their "regular hours").



    In addition, ongoing or serious breaches of attendance may be dealt with as misconduct.

    83. EL2 working patterns


    EL2 employees have an important role in assisting the ATO achieve its business outcomes. In performing this role, EL2 employees often have extra demands placed upon them.



    Managers of EL2 employees will work with them to determine flexible working arrangements and plan work to ensure that they do not work unreasonable hours or have excessive travel demands placed upon them. Unreasonable hours includes working substantially in excess of the weekly standard hours or more than occasionally commencing or finishing outside the bandwidth.



    Within an agreed flexible working arrangement that achieves determined outcomes, it is acceptable for EL2 employees to have full or part day absences from the workplace and variations in attendance times. Further, EL2 employees are encouraged to use flexible working arrangements to take time off work for situations not covered by Personal Leave where the period is one day or less. However any approved short term absences will not be granted on an hour for hour basis for time worked over and above an employee's standard or regular hours.



    Where a flexible working arrangement is in place and operational requirements permit, requests for flexible time-off will not be refused.


    EL2 Personal Plan


    In keeping with the role that EL2 employees have in the ATO as per clause 8 and clause 76.2, an EL2 Employee's performance and development agreement should reflect the EL2 employee's agreed business outcomes. A Personal Plan will form part of the performance and development agreement and will document:

    a. the travel requirements of the job, particularly where travel is a significant or onerous aspect of the job;

    b. the hours of duty and agreed work patterns, including an agreed flexible work arrangement;

    c. a review of annual leave balances and a leave plan for the year; and

    d. succession planning arrangements for when an EL2 employee is on planned or unplanned leave.

    The discussion should also include how the EL2 employee and their manager agree to balance their work and family life taking into account the role of EL2 employees to achieve agreed business outcomes.

    84. Client Service Window - Meeting obligations for 8 am to 6 pm service to clients


    Service commitment


    The ATO and its employees agree, consistent with the Taxpayers' Charter and the ATO's corporate outcomes, to providing a complete national client service between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm (Monday to Friday).




    The ATO is an employment based organisation, which aims to develop and retain ongoing employees. The ATO needs flexibility and certainty in meeting client service requirements of the ATO's telephony and processing function outcomes. These requirements have to take account of the needs of clients as well as the work/life preferences of employees.

    This clause sets out the processes necessary to provide an effective and efficient service to taxpayers and tax agents by the ATO and its employees through the use of inbound and outbound telephony and processing services.

    To properly service this commitment the ATO needs to ensure staffing certainty through a wide range of rostering options.

    In adopting rostering options the ATO will:

    • Consult actively (at the Sub-Plan level and in the affected workplace) before new or changed rostering arrangements are introduced in the workplace.
    • Use rostering options the ATO believes will provide the required service certainty, while working with employees to minimise impacts on employee access to flexibility.
    • Rely on voluntary processes, to the maximum extent practicable, for the development of rosters.
    • Only use, amend or introduce rostering arrangements, where the Commissioner / NPM determines it makes good business sense, in telephony and/or Operations processing areas, rather than all areas in the ATO. It is not the intent to introduce rostering to all parts of the Operations Sub Plan.
    • Use partial and/or team based rostering options in outbound telephony areas wherever possible, unless the Commissioner / NPM determines full rostering is required.
    • Only using rostering arrangements in Operations processing areas where the Commissioner/ NPM determines they are required, and only after appropriate consultation with employees and their representatives.
    • Have maximum possible resources to meet anticipated demand to allow employees to take leave entitlements and flex days, and have access to study leave, training and development.



    The processes set out in this clause, relating to hours of duty and associated issues, only apply to employees involved in:

    a. Inbound telephony work including the 'first point of contact' areas of the ATO (receiving 13, 1300 and 1800 phone enquiries) and the 'plus 1' areas that take referrals of these calls and provide crucial support to the initial contact areas; and/or

    b. Operations outbound telephony and/or Operations processing work where the Commissioner determines that rostering arrangements are required because:


    i. the volume of work to be undertaken; and/or

    ii. the work relates to a special or specific project.


    Work/Lifestyle balance


    The ATO confirms its support to balancing work and family commitments for its employees and will take all reasonable steps to do so within the context of its obligation to meet the client service demand.



    In recognition of this the ATO undertakes to not roster employees under this clause outside of the hours of 7.45 am to 6.15 pm.



    The ATO will ensure where work areas are required to meet client contact demand at the time of contact, that it is reasonable for them to do so taking into account all circumstances including critical mass.


    Emphasis on voluntary arrangements


    The arrangements (which may be reflected in rosters or schedules) may include:

    a. managing the accumulation and taking of planned leave and flex leave;

    b. facilitating regular hours agreements that acknowledge not everyone wants to work the same working pattern;

    c. voluntary rosters and schedules;

    d. providing a facility to identify other employees with suitable skill sets to assist employees who wish to arrange a swap of working times;

    And for Operations Outbound Telephony and Operations Processing functions:

    e. the use of partial scheduling; or

    f. the use of team based scheduling.



    The process of consultation and negotiation used to develop the voluntary arrangements will be:

    a. the work cycle is set as appropriate to meet the business needs of the area. The work cycle will be a maximum of 4 weeks and determined in accordance with work needs of the work area;

    b. the ATO advises affected employees of predicted staffing requirements as early as practicable;

    c. employees advise their preferred working hours, including their preferred lunch hours and any hours they cannot work for hardship or other reasons;

    d. the ATO develops a draft roster which identifies any gaps;

    e. the ATO will address any gaps through voluntary means by working with employees. This may include offering an incentive for subsequent rosters such as first preference to preferred working times or flex leave to those who commit to addressing the gaps in the current roster;

    f. then implement, if required, an 'as directed' roster to fill remaining gaps.



    The ATO is committed to getting voluntary arrangements to work for every work cycle. In establishing the schedule, the ATO will:

    a. take account of the personal circumstances of employees concerned;

    b. ensure equity and fairness for all affected employees;

    c. not roster an employee at times that the delegate determines, on reasonable grounds, would cause the employee hardship; and

    d. complement national scheduling processes with local arrangements if needed.



    At any time an employee can seek to renegotiate their rostered hours or implement a swapping arrangement, however the hours can only be changed with the agreement of the Director/manager.



    Where an employee believes their scheduled roster is unfair or their circumstances have not been fairly considered, they should raise the matter as soon as possible with their manager or Director.



    The manager or Director should provide a decision in a reasonable period before the commencement of the schedule.



    Where a business area sees a need for a scheduling review committee this may be implemented with employees and their representatives, and management representatives. While this committee can be a further step in the review process, the local Director retains responsibility for the final decision.



    If the matter is not resolved through the above arrangement, the ATO will add a peer review process to look at issues that emerge in delivering on 8 to 6. This is envisaged to be a group of three managers looking at individual cases to ensure the ATO approach is consistent with ATO policy and decisions being made in similar areas on how we manage meeting the 8 to 6 client contact demand.



    If suitable resolution is still not possible, or resolution is not possible within a reasonable time frame, then the matter can be referred to a subgroup of the relevant Sub Plan Consultative Forum to examine each case on its merits to ensure integrity and procedural fairness, and examine the reasonableness and consistency of decisions made.



    For the purposes of other clauses in this Agreement the roster developed under this clause will be regarded as the employee's regular hours for the period they are rostered.



    It is recognised overtime may be scheduled where client demand exceeds the employee hours available (i.e. 147 hours, within bandwidth, per settlement period for full-time employees).



    Overtime will also be applicable where an employee has completed their agreed rostered/scheduled hours of work and they are directed to work beyond the time of those rostered/scheduled hours of work (subject to the greater than 15 minute minimum requirement outlined in clause 59.14).

    85. Regular part time employment


    Management initiated part time work


    Regular part time employment may be initiated by the ATO in any part of the ATO where the type or amount of work to be undertaken or the range of client contact hours make it impracticable or uneconomic to create full time jobs.



    On engaging an employee under the Management Initiated Part Time work arrangements, managers will specify the hours of duty to be worked in each week (the maximum must be less than 36   hours in any one week) over a 4 week cycle as well as the times to be worked on each day of the cycle.



    The employee's "average" hours is the total hours to be worked in that 4 week cycle divided by 4. The average hours per week will be used for leave accrual, flex carry over and payment of salary purposes.


    Right of conversion of employees


    An employee who is engaged as a part time employee may only convert to full-time employment by promotion or assignment to other full time duties at level.


    Change of hours


    The hours of duty may be changed at any time by agreement between the delegate and the employee.



    The Commissioner may, by giving reasonable notice to the employee, change the start and finish times (but not the total number of hours each day, unless agreed with the employee) of an employee employed under management initiated part time provisions

    The ATO will not seek to vary an employee's start and finishing times in the 12 months following the employee's engagement or more than once in any 12 month period.

    Reasonable notice will consider the following factors:

    a. any non work reasons provided by the employees as to hardship or other outcomes resulting from the change in start and finish times;

    b. the magnitude of the change;

    c. the time it would reasonably take for the employee to adjust their non work issues to be able to take up the new hours;

    d. the reason for the change including the urgency;

    e. whether it would lead to a conclusion that the employee may become excess;

    f. the business drivers for the change in hours;

    g. any other factors that the employee or manger consider relevant.



    Where the proposed change in hours is permanent and the employee is unable to work those proposed hours, the employee may be considered to be an excess employee in accordance with clause 117 of this Agreement.


    Protection of full time employees


    No full time employee will be required to take up a part time job without having given their written agreement.


    Access to part time work by existing employees


    A proposal for regular part time employment may be initiated by an employee.

    A reasonable request by an ongoing employee to access regular part time employment, or to renew a current regular part time employment arrangement, will be approved if there is a balance between the employee's personal needs and the operational requirements.



    If a proposal is approved, the part time work agreement must set out the period, which is not to exceed 12 months, which the employee has been given approval to work part time.



    A full time employee who has been permitted to perform their duties on a part time basis for an agreed period will revert to full-time duties:

    a. at the expiry of the period; or

    b. where the employee has been successful in their application for promotion, temporary transfer or movement at level, when the employee commences those new duties.



    Before an employee commences regular part time duty, hours of duty are to be specified in writing:

    a. the specified hours to be worked over a four week cycle;

    b. the starting and finishing times for regular hours, to be worked.



    Nothing in clauses 85.10 or 85.11 prevents the employee from initiating a new proposal for regular part time employment for their new duties, or at the end of the period of regular part time, in accordance with clause 85.7.



    A proposal to work part time, where an employee has been temporarily assigned to duties, can only be for the duration of the temporary assignment.


    Right of reversion


    A full time employee permitted to perform their duties on a part time basis for an agreed period may, if circumstances alter before the expiry of the agreed period, revert to full time duties as soon as practicable, but no later than the expiry of the period.



    If an employee is assigned to different duties for the period, the employee will be allowed to move to appropriate full time duties at the employee's classification level, having regard to the employee's qualifications and experience.


    Removal of limits


    Under this agreement there are not:

    a. any limits on the number of part time employees engaged within the ATO; and

    b. any minimum or maximum hours of work for regular part time employees.


    Part time work - general matters


    Unless specified below, terms and conditions for regular part time employees will be the same as for full time employees, except they will be calculated on a pro rata basis for hours worked. No pro rata adjustments will be made to any expense related allowances that the employee is eligible for under this Agreement.




    The hourly rate of pay for a regular part time employee will be the same as for a full time employee.



    A regular part time employee covered by this Agreement (except for EL2 employees) is entitled to annual salary advancement on the same day as if a full time employee.



    A regular part time employee is not to get paid for more hours under the minimum payment for holiday duty provisions than if the part time employee had worked a normal day.


    Change of hours


    An employee's part time work agreement may be changed at any time by agreement between the ATO and the employee.


    Hours of duty


    Hours of duty will not be varied without the written consent of the employee except as provided for in clause 85.6.



    The bandwidth for regular part time employees is the same as for full time employees, including any variations for flexible working arrangements undertaken as part of this Agreement.



    Regular hours for part time employees are to be continuous each day, except for meal breaks.



    A regular part time employee and their manager may, by agreement, vary the hours worked within a cycle (4 weeks). An employee is free to decline any request for variation to working hours, without the matter being pursued further by the manager.



    Regular part time employees can carry over hours (credit or debit) from one four week settlement period to another. The carryover will be a maximum of 20% credit or 10% debit of the employee's average hours per settlement period (i.e. 4 times the average hours determined under clause 85.3).



    Approval for utilisation of carry over hours is conditional upon operational requirements being met and efficient service delivery still being provided to the public and other clients.


    Overtime for regular part time employees - including shift workers


    Overtime is payable to regular part time employees below the overtime salary barrier on the same basis as for full-time employees.



    Regular part time employees above the overtime salary barrier will be paid their normal hourly rate for overtime duty outside their ordinary hours of duty (Monday to Friday), subject to the total payment not exceeding a maximum of 147 hours in a 4 week settlement period.



    Approval may be given in exceptional circumstances for regular part time employees above the salary barrier to receive overtime payment for duty beyond this entitlement.

    86. Job sharing


    Job sharing arrangements between two or more regular-part time employees may be approved subject to operational circumstances and the basis of the employees' application.



    Individual agreements will be entered into with each employee.



    Where the job sharing arrangement is dependent on continuation of both agreements, this will be spelled out in the individual agreement of each employee.

    87. Unauthorised absences


    Unauthorised absence is an absence from duty that is not approved. It is not leave and employees do not have the option of taking approved leave (including flex leave), or miscellaneous leave without pay to cover periods of unauthorised absence.



    Where an employee has an unauthorised absence:

    a. the period of unauthorised absence shall not count as service for any purpose; and

    b. the employee shall not be paid in respect of the period, or periods.

      Last modified: 02 Dec 2011QC 24167