No Christmas Party Is This Fair?

I have a friend she works in a large (ish) organisation (aged care facility - mix of both publicly/privately funded care) she works in administration at the best of times her workplace doesnt have much of a Christmas function usually a little lunch , a few drinks and a bit of down time the week before Christmas - the workplace culture is reasonability poor.

But this year she (and everyone else who works there - bar management) has worked right though COVID and had to do some frontline support tasks and on some level put themselves at huge risk to keep the place going (i wont go into deals)- the staff all felt a little overdue a bit of gratitude now things have clamed down.
Keep in mind this is in Victoria and during the peak of the pandemic they were under huge pressure.

Apparently there was a notice saying during lockdown that when out of lockdown the organisation would aim to improve staff moral in what had been a hard year fully acknowledging the team had gone above and beyond what many where employed to do (esp the health care workers - which my friend admits she only works in admin but still was dealing with loads of people and was worried she would get COVID and spread it to her family)

However now management have decided to not have any Christmas functions and the money that was going to be used on a staff function is now to be given to charity.

Now I used to work at this organisation so i know first hand how sh*t house; management, HR and the executives are essentially the are greedy flogs on high wages where as most of the workers are just your run of the mill low-middle income individuals who generally work hard and aren't treated particularly well.

SO back to my mate, She was fuming not that the money was going to Charity but that they are no say in where money would go and that the one function they did have (which wasn't much) had been taken away in a year where she quotes "we have carried those, useless f**ks all year" - Keep in mind whilst the workers mostly stayed on the frontline during the pandemic keeping the place running management worked from home mostly were safe from the virus - still collected massive salaries.

Although i got nothing against giving the money to charity it does beg the question is this entirely fair?

Of course no one is entitled to a Christmas party or anything but morally I kind of feel for the staff because they feel like they put in when were asked to during the hardest times this year and though no one is formally complaining about the money going to charity they do feel like it is a kick in the teeth. - as the management could of easily made the donation themselves and still put something on for the staff or i dont know given them a small bonus (highly unlikely at this place)

I know some other companies did give staff who worked though the pandemic little bonuses - Coles, Bunnings, Woolworths etc

So i thought i'd leave this poll and ask what people thought? Is it fair that staff are essentially getting no recognition and now not having the small Christmas event after the year they have had?

Ill add this year isnt over and my friend and the workers may still get some recognition but as someone who worked there many years back this is highly unlikely - it is also not clear which charity the money is going too so it is entirely possible management would just pocket it all and say they donated it too i wouldnt put it past them they have done loads of dodgy sh*t in the past.

Poll Options

  • 122
    It is fair - management can do what they want
  • 41
    It isn't fair - staff deserve some recognition for the hard workthey put in
  • 7
    Other (comment below)


  • +10 votes
    1. Staff are not entitled to a Christmas Party.
    2. The Christmas Party benefits the employer more so than the employee by way of staff morale.

    You can't force the employer to appreciate the employee.

    • +1 vote

      No offence to the OP, but this is an example of business wanting to move overseas (for lower cost and "obedient" employees) , except service based industries can't.

      OP, it's not fair… however life isn't fair :(. Is there a channel for that workplace to engage with management to provide any sort of feedback or the direction of information only travels from the top down and there is no dialogue?

    • For what it is worth tshow i knew you would post this when i was drafting this up. Also i agree with you But the question isnt is it legal.

      The question is it fair? (or if it was you would you do the same thing)

      Becuz although i agree with your above post i 100% wouldn't do what management at her work place done.

      I can only speak about my work place which has have a lunch and given everyone a small bonus this year.

  • I feel like your question is a bit split up, "is it fair" is very different to "management can do what they want". I imagine christmas parties aren't part of any policies or part of any agreements when signed on? In which case I can say that "management can do what they want" in saying that, I also can say it "isn't fair" and I won't be surprised if employees take offence, start taking more "time off", stop carrying the business, or just do a worse job in the future because they feel undervalued. So I guess the workplace gets what they get coming to them.

    • 'Management can do what the want' and what they are doing isnt illegal but there is a moral side to life i guess what im asking is would you do it if you where management?

  • show me the christmas party in your contract

    • It's what you get that is not in the contract that seperates a good employer from a crap one.

      For staff that have put in extra this year, a small token of appreciation goes a long way.

      • Here's a token of appreciation, you've still got a job and not lining up at centrelink!

        • There are a lot of companies that have either not been negatively affected by the pandemic or whose business has improved. Your view is the cancer that leads to exploitation.

          • @Hardlyworkin: My company wasn't affected by covid and are not having a Xmas party. Xmas party is a privilege not a right. People have bigger problems and are a lot worse off than me and op so if a Xmas party is what you've got to complain about maybe your view is the cancerous one.

      • , Christmas party =\ appreciation

  • You're not entitled to a Christmas party unless it's in your work contract. Parties are set up by employers because it's a nice thing to do, but there is no expectation the party will occur.

    My workplace has a Christmas lunch that drags on from 1pm to well past 5, and then everyone goes to the pub afterwards for even more. I can't wait to be out of there by 4 as the conversations die down and start running around in circles. Sometimes it's good not to have a Christmas event. Spend more time with your family and enjoy the holiday period.

  • Why is it that people in the low end of an organisation always think that executives and management are all useless and they are the ones supposedly "carrying" the organisation?
    I'm sorry but the harsh truth is that there are millions of other people who can do your job and comparatively there are a lot less number of people who can do the job that these so-called overpaid management do and hence why they get paid the big bucks.

    Besides your friend is getting paid to do her job so she should stop thinking like she's doing her workplace a favour by doing her job.

    • I get what your saying in most cases your 100% right but at this place these guys are useless - trust me when i say this i no longer work there and can tell you 100% that they are incompetent they almost got shut down for all the dodgy shit that happened a few years back

    • I'm a shareholder in many organizations and I also think the executives are mostly useless. So it happens at both ends of the scale. Big companies are hiring quality executives, but the small and mid-cap executives can be absolutely atrocious.

  • +13 votes

    Your friend is lucky. I hate having to go to christmas parties.

    • Came here to say just that.
      I think work social functions are a bad idea full stop personally.
      Yes because I don't enjoy them, but also because i'm not alone.
      They genuinely make some people uncomfortable and anxious, and that's not what work is about.

      Colleagues can arrange something privately out of hours if they want to socialise.
      But don't force people into something they wouldn't otherwise do and that's not in their contract.
      Yes Grinch blah blah if that's how you read this.
      But that's not at all what it's about.

  • +1 vote

    donate to charity they'll get a tax deduction and seen as doing their part for CSR (a win win in their eyes), paying for a Christmas party employer may have to pay FBT and worry about covid/social distancing fines.

  • It would be nice of them to give back to the staff who have been frontline workers throughout this year instead of pocketing the money themselves via proxy giving it to charity, but it's up to them and not part of job entitlement. Unhappy workers are free to leave and bosses can deal with poor morale and high employee turnover.

    • 'pocketing the money themselves via proxy' I love how this got crossed out i didnt want to assert this but a few of the higher managers have friends/family who are bosses at 'charities' i think they will just hand the money to there mates for the tax write off but i got no proof but that is what i told my friend

      My advice was also that is life your leaving when you finish uni - some of the full time staff have already said they wont work christmas and christmas eve and even if roistered they will call in sick

      • So they are going to leave the rest of the staff short handed at Christmas at an aged care facility because they can’t have a Christmas party? Classy.

  • You have to learn how to recognise empty promises designed to motivate employees during unreasonably difficult times. Next time say no to those extra grueling hours, but say you are available for the hours the job description originally described.

  • Christmas party for Aged care workers in the middle of covid really ?

    If covid gets into their facility, they would have got a total pasting from the media and authorities.

    • Even if it does not its a very bad look. There was a video circulating in the media of a party in an aged care centre earlier this year there was much outrage.

  • So your friend is miffed she had to work to get paid during covid, rather than be laid off and go on any of the gov benefits available.

    She and anyone else who CHOSE to work harder and above and beyond did what many thousands of other have done during a crisis and "disasters" Bush Fire fighters, medical teams etc do the same during emergencies often without recognition

    There is nothing stopping your friend and all the others from having there own Christmas "party" except they have to pay for the drinks nibbles themselves.

    while yes, it is poor form for the employer not to reward the efforts after saying they would, I get that, but its not a really big issue in the long run.

    you are always free to organise your own social gatherings regardless of the season.

    Obviously your friend thinks she is owed something for just doing her job and has a martyr syndrome.

    • I know this isnt the right mentality but it needs to be noted She would of got more money on job keeper….

      • she can always quit if its as toxic and incompetent workplace as you say it is, mind you it may be the very staff that's complaining may be the incompetent ones and not just management?

      • She would of got more money on job keeper

        How is this possible? Or does your friend not work full time?

      • Considering that she's still studying, don't think about the money she gets now. But think about the work experience she put in her resume.
        If she quits and just relying on job keeper, it will be harder to apply jobs once job keeper is gone.

  • Please add full stops occasionally.

  • Your friend has a lot in common with my great grandfather. He was also on the frontline (in Belgium in 1917), and like your friend, also at "huge risk". Like your friend he didn't get a Christmas party but unlike your friend he was blown to pieces and buried in an unmarked grave. Get some perspective.

  • First world problem !

    • Bahaha thats fair i figured Oz B would be pretty anti worker but i thought it was a interesting story becuz it is the prime reason why employees dont have loyalty to there workplace in the modern work place these days - it is that balance i always hear employers saying workers are paid to much, have too much entitlements etc but it swings both ways management can be d**ks imo this is a prime example of something legal that management is well within there right to do but probably shouldnt have done IMO

      • i figured Oz B would be pretty anti worker but

        Seems like a lot of people on OzB are white collar professionals (some making more than $250k). That is why they are posting during business hours from their desk.

        I would say 80% of the time problems come from bad communications. Employees are not entitled to a Christmas party but giving them half a day's leave to do whatever they please provided shifts can be covered wouldn't have hurt.

  • It would be nice if the employer did something to recognise the staff. Of course they don’t have to but it would be better for staff morale.

  • +2 votes

    Tell your friend to change her focus from losing out on something to helping someone in more need than her.

  • A couple of staff members have arranged the Christmas party at my work. They got prices for booking a room at the local pub then emailed around to see who was keen to go. It is costing everyone $50 each, but there were cheaper options without drink packages (they did a vote of what was most popular). I understand why your friend is cranky and disappointed but some places just don't do staff parties. If she's that keen, she might just have to take some initiative and plan something herself. I'm sure her colleagues would really appreciate it!

    • I probably should add this in - the management have discourage them from having a non-official work Christmas party due to the risks of COVID19 in there own time (it isnt going to stop them - but it is probably worth noting)

      • "There will be no fun on or off company time! Cancellation of employee extras will continue until morale improves!!!"

  • be thankful she has a job.

  • Who likes Christmas parties?

  • I feel you on this one! We aren't front line by any stretch, but our workplace has been open throughout the entire Covid crisis, we haven't changed our working conditions one bit.

    We usually have a Christmas party (drinks and canapes type thing) which then got changed to "party for your teams only, 10 person max, $100pp to spend". I went to the effort of finding a decent place to go, with access to good coffee/pastry/bar/distillery nearby. Was really looking forward to it.

    Then after the SA lockdown, the company's board decided to cancel all Christmas parties effective immediately, with Covid in SA (which we are not even in) being the reasoning (/excuse). It was confusing and poorly communicated and has still never actually been directly communicated from the higher ups, it just came from my boss down to me, to pass on to my team.

    But then the SA lockdown turned out to really not be a big thing, and the Christmas party cancellation stands…

    We're all pretty certain it was purely to save money (we have about 5000 employees total, so they've just saved themselves $500k), since the logical next step would be to offer to lay on a spread at the workplace, but that hasn't happened

    I realise we aren't entitled to anything, but I would appreciate if the company were more upfront about it, instead of what is clearly just a convenient lie

    At least OP's company is giving it to a charity!

    • Our Chrissy party got cancelled too. Normally it ranges from average to good.
      We still can have a end-of-year team lunch. Budget not to exceed $25.
      When the team was asked if there was interest, a whopping 60% voted against.
      Might have to do with the money we were allowed to spend.

      • Or just people didn't want to have the risk if COVID19 could be lurking around.

      • $25 is pretty low budget! You'd barely even get a meal, let alone a meal + a beer

        And here I was thinking that $100pp wasn't enough (in my defense, once you go into Sydney with 10 people to anywhere that's half decent, you end up being forced to have a set menu, and then that runs you nearly $100pp already)

  • This is surely a troll post

  • Ah, I see your "friend" is in university. Welcome to a lesson in never trusting management.

  • Wouldn't bother me either way. Christmas parties aren't what they used to be anyway. My form in recent years has been to turn up for a couple of hours, have a conversation with everyone I need to, drop three or four beers and be on my merry way before people start getting full.

    If the workplace is as bad as you say it is, a Christmas party would be the last place I'd want to be. Take it as a blessing. If individuals want to get together separately, they'll likely have a better time anyway.

    • my merry way before people start getting full.

      Good idea. I do the same. I just don't want to be asked the next day by HR to recount what went on. At one place one person was known for getting drunk and start dancing with a bottle of wine on the dance floor.

      • I just don't want to be asked the next day by HR to recount what went on.

        Absolutely … "don't know anything about it … wasn't there!"

        There was one a few years ago that turned very messy. I taken off hours before, but found out on Monday morning about what went on. Various people were in and out of meetings with HR/senior management all week, others dodging each other in the office, etc. Never been happier to leave a party early!

        • As a HR Manager in a past life I can confirm that all sorts of things go on at Christmas parties, the least being people telling their boss what they really think of him/her to the worst sexual harassment and sex in cupboards. Best avoided or at least do not drink.

  • Frankly I think your friend should start looking around for alternate places to work. Given the various reviews this is going to be an industry where regulation is going to be increased and good workers are going to be valued. However, given what is happening the Christmas party ban, may well, be about ensuring their workforce don’t infect each other if another kick up occurs.

  • Lengthy post so forgive me if I miss something.

    But this year she (and everyone else who works there - bar management) has worked right though COVID

    Your friend could have been given some type of employee recognition. Her manager would be responsible for monitoring the staff performances. Sound like you already have fixated view about management so no point of of me convincing you otherwise. If you and her both believe the culture doesn't reward people, then she could consider looking for another job.

    Merry Christmas to her.

    Disclaimer: I'm not in management nor want to be.

  • Wow, reading these comments from OzBargainers saying Is It iN tHeiR cOntRaCt?1!? makes my mind boggle. So accustomed to being worked into the ground, a race to the bottom for humanity. So pathetic. Boot lickers, the lot of you. Sounds like you've all swallowed the cool-aid.

    Your friend worked their fricken butt off - management are a bunch of mongrels.

  • +1 vote

    Maybe the employees should band together and all just have their own "lunch time meeting" on the last work day before Xmas, then go home "sick" afterwards (because it's not safe to be at work after consuming alcohol).

  • My husband works for an American company and they have been wonderful to their employees during Covid. From custom made chocolates with thank you notes, zoom art classes, wine tasting and yoga with all materials couriered out. Money gifted for home office supplies. And another time for a wide range of things including personal electronics and gym gear, each of these for hundreds of dollars. It also undertook not to dismiss any employees this year. This company also cancelled all Christmas parties but staff will decide how to spend the allotted funds. The company is not in the health care industry. This is what I think this company should have done. Just telling everyone that the money is going to charity is not the best way of doing this and the staff should have had input to at least choose the charity. I would be asking to see the certificate of appreciation from the charity. But I do understand the company discouraging staff to meet up privately.

  • Unionise, then strike.

  • I figure that most aged care facilities in Victoria aren't going to hold Christmas parties so they don't appear in any headlines like this.
    Kinda like how the big banks generally cancel or tone down their parties while they are getting negative headlines.

    Could be worse though, my partners company has floated the idea of a 'company christmas picnic' at a park in the CBD… but everyone has to bring their own food and drink (no sharing allowed), it has to be on a weekend (so no work hours are missed), family members cannot come and there will be no staff gifts.

    • +3 votes

      my partners company has floated the idea of a 'company christmas picnic' at a park in the CBD… but everyone has to bring their own food and drink (no sharing allowed), it has to be on a weekend (so no work hours are missed), family members cannot come and there will be no staff gifts.

      Worst kind! You own time, your own food… sounds more like a school detention (punishment) than a party. If you want to hang out with coworker you liked, would have organised your own event. Only people that feels good about this are those organising it (as they would have ticked a box somewhere as part of some KPI or goal they had).

    • My company Christmas party is at a park in the CBD, food is supplied but no alcohol allowed. THANKFULLY it's on a Wed arvo - I wouldn't be going to any work Christmas party on a wkend. Someone's booked a bar for afterwards.

  • Can your friend and her colleagues just organise their own Christmas party?

  • +2 votes

    Block-quote She was fuming not that the money was going to Charity but that they are no say in where money would go and that the one function they did have (which wasn't much) had been taken away in a year where she quotes "we have carried those, useless f**ks all year"

    Wowwwwww, your friend might need to relax a bit there. Or is this Christmas party secretly epic which would match the disappointment your friend is feeling? I only say this because her reaction is nuts!

    It's not her money.

    Christmas parties are not entitlements.

    It really doesn't matter if she has "carried useless f***ks all year". That's the job, I guess even if it doesn't sound great.

    Yes, it sucks, but they're donating the money to charity. I think it's a really nice thing, especially right now.

    Just tell her to go get shitfaced with her colleagues anyway.