The ATO offer

On Thursday 8 December, you are being asked to vote on the ATO’s proposed enterprise agreement. There have been some changes to the proposal since the last vote but it does not match your current enterprise agreement. Here’s a summary of the third offer and why we recommend you vote NO.

If you have a specific concern, CPSU members can compare the current agreement against the ATO proposal and the CPSU claim, clause by clause. If you have further questions, please speak with your delegate or email

The ATO’s pay offer averages 2% a year over three years, with some frontloading of 3% in the first year, 2% in the second year and 1% in the final year. This is about 1% a year if you consider the delays.

At this stage in negotiations, the status quo is still a better deal. The 2011 enterprise agreement continues until a new agreement is voted up by a majority of employees that choose to vote.

Bargaining is about numbers and CPSU membership makes all the difference. Secure your future, take control of your job, pay, conditions and rights, by joining us today click here or call 1300 137 636.

The bad and the good - the ATO offer in summary

There is still a long list of cuts to rights and conditions proposed by the ATO that would cut over 100 years of progress by members in the ATO. Here’s what is at stake and what's been safeguarded.

Some of the things that are still missing (aka the bad news)

Pay and allowances

All staff - No financial recognition for the extensive delays.

Full time staff - No $300 Health and Wellbeing allowance, the employer claims it has been rolled into the salary offer of 2% a year over three years.

Part time staff – Do not receive the full benefit of the rolled in Health and wellbeing allowance.

Casuals - Casual loading less than the Public Service Award and community standard of 25%.

Hours of work - for more info see the Rostering and Working Hours Factsheet

Rosters – proposal seeks to limit rostering to Service Delivery areas (but other areas could be moved to Service Delivery). The ATO would need to consult if extending rostering to a new area, however consultation provisions are less extensive.

Possibility to change an individual’s bandwidth (currently 7am to 7pm) which could make working anti-social hours a condition of employment and would undercut the payment of penalty rates.

The ATO can seek to change employee initiated part time agreements at any time by agreement and we know some managers try pressuring staff onto short part time agreements. 

Note: The CPSU position is that part time agreements should be for 12 months unless you want a shorter period. The ATO say the maximum duration is 12 months.

Right to revert from part time to full time before the agreement expires. Members use part time work arrangements to manage personal commitments.

Rights at work - for more info see the Consultation and Representation Factsheet

No consultation before a decision is made so you can influence the decision making process.

No facilitation of delegates rights to represent you on individual and collective workplace matters, including training on how to help you.

No guarantee of CPSU noticeboards to share information about workplace issues.

Note: The ATO proposal includes Terms of Reference for the National Consultative Forum. At this stage the ToR would include pre-decision consultation ‘wherever practicable’ but it’s unclear how this would be facilitated more broadly. The ToR would also provide facilities so union delegates’ can represent you on workplace issues, similar to current provisions in the agreement. This is better than nothing but is not the same as conditions in an enterprise agreement.

No dispute settlement provisions that mean the ATO cannot make changes to work practices while we try and fix problems.

No timeframes for dispute settlement processes to aid resolution and make parties accountable.

Lack of adequate protection on electronic monitoring of your work.

No detail on how working at home provisions will be funded or managed.

Cuts to conditions about managing workplace disruptions due to building activity.

No more guarantees on the standard or location of accommodation. 

Performance and career development - for more information see the Performance and Career Development Factsheet

No commitment to performance agreements with realistic goals within your control.

No clear timeframes and guidance on realistic goals for informal performance support.

Study leave for those engaged in combination lecture/research courses reduced.


Onerous expectations on evidence for all personal leave for non-ongoing employees.

Miscellaneous leave details cut, making this type of leave less certain.

Some of the rights and conditions CPSU member action has safeguarded

The length of the working day at 7’21”.

15.4% guaranteed superannuation for those on superannuation accumulation plans.

Annual performance based salary advancement linked to your anniversary of employment.

Non-ongoing employees would still have access to salary advancement.

Ongoing performance feedback during the performance cycle (the ‘no surprises’ principle).

Protection that capability assessment will not be used for performance management purposes.

Principles-based commitment to identify and support capability and career development goals.

General eight week timeframe in a formal underperformance process.

The number of personal and carers leave days you accrue each year (it stays at 17 days).

Guaranteed access to part day personal leave.

Personal leave – documentation required after eight days for EL and APS ongoing employees.

Access to Employee Assistance Scheme, including for casuals (in special circumstances).

Clarity on access to overtime.

EL1 hour for hour flexible working arrangements, though still at a manager’s discretion.

Indexed allowances.

Field work allowance retained.

Part day travel allowance and incidentals.

Recognises limited personal use of IT equipment.

Assistance for holiday care programs to include non-ongoing employees.

Paid leave to donate blood and receive vaccinations.

Written notice where a miscellaneous leave application is to be refused or approved.

Additional leave and district allowance for a group of long term workers in Townville.

Keeping rights and conditions in your agreement means you keep them

It’s not OK if it is in policy because, as the Australian Public Service Commissioner conceded in Senate Estimates in February 2016, policy “is not strictly enforceable". For more info see the Policy versus the agreement Factsheet.