December 2, 2019


Teachers work hard all year round, so why can’t we splurge on them with a well deserved treat?

Sadly we must discuss the policy regarding gift giving for teachers.

A note in our school newsletter advised parents that teachers gifts should only be of token value (under $50) or it cannot be accepted in any circumstances.

Department of Education TAS policy issued in November 2016 states,

Officers and employees should not expect to receive gifts, benefits or hospitality for doing a job they are paid by the public to do.  In most situations, ‘thanks’ is enough.

You must never accept a gift, benefit or hospitality, token memento or modest refreshment in the following circumstances:
• It is money or money equivalent;
• A valuable object valued at $100 AUD or higher;
• You are a Government buyer and your acceptance may influence or be perceived to influence a procurement or disposal decision;
• You or your agency makes decisions or gives advice regarding the gift giver or are likely to in future and your acceptance may influence or be perceived to influence the decision or advice;
• Your acceptance may otherwise cause an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest, or may be seen by other people as a reward or incentive.

Officers and employees should not expect to receive gifts, benefits or hospitality for doing a job they are paid by the public to do.  In most situations, officers and employees should refuse gifts, benefits or hospitality if offered.

However, in limited circumstances, it may be appropriate to consider acceptance of a gift, benefit or hospitality , or a modest refreshment, if offered.

On discussion with my school it became very clear that it is not even possible for parents to combine their dollars and purchase a gift together.

NSW Policy

After yesterday sharing how one mum was shunned for not tossing in $50 for her sons Kindergarten teacher we looked into the policy for NSW teachers which states:

“Accepting gifts and other benefits has the potential to compromise your position by creating a sense of obligation and undermining your impartiality. It may also affect the reputation of the Department and its officers. You must not create the impression that any person or organisation is influencing the Department or the decisions of any of its employees.

“Always consider the value and purpose of a gift or benefit before making any decision about accepting it. A gift that is more than nominal value ($50) must not become personal property. You should either politely refuse it or advise the contributor that you will accept it on behalf of your school or workplace.

“When such a gift is accepted, you must advise your manager or Principal. They will determine how it should be treated and make a record of its receipt. Depending on the nature and value of the gift, it may be appropriate to record the gift in the asset register as a donation or other such record established for that purpose.”

Victoria policy


“A Token offer is an offer of a gift, benefit or hospitality with an estimated or actual value that is less than $50, other than for a Gift of Appreciation (Teaching Service only). Refer to Definitions for further information about Token offers.

“A Non-Token offer is an offer of a gift, benefit or hospitality with an estimated or actual value that is $50 or more, other than for a Gift of Appreciation (Teaching Service only).

“A Gift of Appreciation is an offer from or on behalf of a parent, carer or student(s) made to members of the Teaching Service (only), intended to express appreciation of the teacher’s contribution to the education of a student or students.

“Where the estimated value is $100 or less, the Gift of Appreciation is considered Token and does not need to be declared. A gift with an estimated or actual value above $100 is considered Non-Token and must be declared. For further information see Gifts of Appreciation below.

“Gifts of Appreciation may be provided by an individual or group of students, parents or carers. It is the total value of the offer rather than the individual contribution by each donor that determines if the offer is Non-Token.

“Gifts or benefits offered to a member of the Teaching Service by other members of the community (e.g. community groups, businesses) are not Gifts of Appreciation and are subject to the standard Token offer threshold of $50.

“Gifts received by a member of the Teaching Service that are valued above $100 are Non-Token gifts. Personnel must declare and seek approval to retain Non-Token gifts in the
“Registry system. These gifts have a unique legitimate business benefit: “conveying appreciation to members of the Teaching Service”.

“Non-Cash Vouchers as defined in this Policy and offered as Gifts of Appreciation may be accepted.

“Where the total estimated value of a Gift of Appreciation is equal to or exceeds $500, the Authorised Delegate has discretion to allow the Recipient to retain it only when it has been offered by multiple students, parents and/or carers. Otherwise, the Gift of Appreciation must be either declined or transferred to the ownership of the school or the Department.”

We recommend you check with your school what their policy is before going too crazy on a gift this year.


Has your school cracked down on what you can gift teachers?

Do you splurge on your child’s teacher? Or just give them a little token gift?

Share your comments below.

Read more:

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  • People are going to be made feel uncomfortable when they simply cannot contribute. Think of those who have more than one child and they are in different classes

    • I always buy my kids teachers a gift at the end of the year. It shows their hard work is appreciated and noticed. I’ve never had an issue with them not being able to accept a gift.


  • I think its understandable. Could be taken wrongly or used to People’s advantage in bribing etc


  • I only give a token present, but one year we all tossed in $5 or $10 for a decent gift voucher for a teacher – I don’t see why that’s a problem. It was about $200, but from the whole class.


  • I’m a teacher myself and had no idea about this! generally the typical gift is usually a box of chocolates or flowers or a hand made gift anyways. I think the NSW policy is a bit ridiculous.. why should a gift more than $50 become the property of the school, strange. I like the victorian one where it mentions that gifts of appreciations are okay. I’m going to assume this is due to the potential of bribery.


  • I think it is nice when children make something special for their teachers and it does not have to cost much


  • I dont see any problem with big gifts…why they should become propriety of school? Teachers works very hard they should be reworded a little.


  • The parents at my kids schools son’t put in for gifts but I send a token gift of varying amount depending on how much I liked the teacher


  • I had no idea there was a value?! Normally all the parents get together and put in $5-$10 each and get a gift card for the teacher. I don’t see anything wrong with that even it if is over a certain amount it is from the whole class not ONE individual.


  • I would only make a cake or somthing as I know that they would appreciate something like this, thanks for sharing this read


  • A lot of families struggle to pay for their own essential basic needs, and rarely eat out as it costs them as much for one meal as they would spend on the whole family for several days


  • Never had teacher gifts when I was a kid, my kids didn’t do teacher gifts either. Just a stupid idea


  • You know, a nice card is just a great!


  • I couldn’t afford to spend over $50 on each teacher gift!


  • People have unusual names or spelling of names and others need to be respectful of this, and especially not share the ridicule in social media. The airline staff need to make a formal apology and be dismissed from their positions. Abcde, also is deserving of a formal apology. People need to keep their ignorant opinions to themselves.


  • at our school we do a class gift from everyone in the class.


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