If Scrooge was a public servant, where would he work?

The Christmas shutdown starting on Friday will keep the annual leave balances of holidaying public servants untouched, except for staff at two of the government’s largest agencies.
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An analysis of the workplace deals for Canberra’s largest 20 government employers shows that when it comes to holiday festivity, some agencies are more Scrooge-like than others.

In the newly-formed Department of Home Affairs,which has adopted the workplace agreement of the former Immigration Department (except for statutory agencies moving into the agency),staff must use annual leave or flexitime during the shutdown.

Some agencies are more Scrooge-like than others when it comes to the annual shutdown. Photo: WARWICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Department of Human Services public servants get an “APS holiday” in addition to Christmas and Boxing Day, but they must use annual leave for the rest of the break. However, they have three days’ more annual leave than staff at other agencies.

Public servants at every other major government employer in the capital spend no annual leave during the shutdown.

Defence Department staff also get an extra holiday, which they take in January.

The Coalition’s ascent to power in 2013 raised fears it would reduce the shutdown break, which drains Canberra of its public servants.

Despite long and acrimonious industrial disputes over new workplace deals, four years later, the shutdown remains for most of Canberra’s largest employers.

The variation between agencies emerged as they reached workplace deals that treat the period differently.

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood said it was smart for bosses to give their hard-working staff a decent break over Christmas.

The union prioritised the bargaining issues that mattered to workers in each agency, she said.

“We do see often more resistance to additional leave in service delivery agencies than policy areas and departments of state,” Ms Flood said.