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,

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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.


  • Already knew about policies and guidelines about gift giving and this actually extends to many jobs in many sectors. I would never ever want to place a teacher or any professional in a position that may question integrity. Gifts are always kept to a minimum.


  • Holy moley, Christmas presents for the teacher weren’t even a consideration when I went to school. And even more recent, not a thing for my kids school years. Who invented this stuff?!


  • Geepers its getting so complicated! A Haighs chocolate frog or a box of choccies and you have a very happy teacher! I remember when i was teaching pre school the best part about the end of year is all the chocolates you get from the children! keep it simple people!


  • I buy them Christmas hampers and chocolates


  • We always made handmade gifts such as decorations for the tree or an ornament for our teachers and they loved it as the work was done with love, they understood that and appreciated what ever they got. You should not be limited to what you can spend on a teacher as some teachers go above and beyond their duties with some children and it is nice to be appreciated for their efforts. People who work in offices give presents or factories and have no limits so why should teachers be any different.


  • When I was at school, gifts for teachers were never done. Same when my kids went to school. I never gave it a thought


  • I don’t think banning gifts is good or saying a $50 limit unless this information goes home to all parents. Some cultures take offense if you do not accept what they have given. I was given money and tried to refuse, but the mother just pushed it into my hands and would not accept my refusal. It was a very awkward situation.


  • Surely people could just use their common sense. I doubt many parents are purchasing gifts in excess of $50 anyway. A thoughtful card is enough for most teachers, or even encourage your kid to say thank you at the end of year. Sadly, most don’t. Yes, teachers are paid to do their job but you’ll find a lot go above and beyond their “job”.


  • Really it has depended on how my children have felt with their teachers if they got anything or just a card. As for anything over $50 I am not the rich, my children do not get that much for presents.


  • I thought this was the case with all State Government jobs. I’ve never seen a formal note to parents in this format before, but my kids always love creating a card to show thanks to their teachers.


  • A group of parents combining and giving a teacher a gift by each one contributing a small amount should be more acceptable. One sensible small present is more appropriate. When did this craze start? The only thing my parents contributed to was our teachers’ wedding present. Parents with 2 or more children at school, especially if any of them have special needs and continuous medical treatment some of which is not covered by Medicare struggle financially even with a strict budget and can only afford a very small amout if at all. Stop to think how those children feel when others give teachers big/expensive presents. My parents certainly couldn’t afford much given that my Dad was physically injured and was unable to work for weeks on end, sometimes months and ran out of sick leave. My Mum had to stay home to care for him and my disabled brother. They struggled to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.


  • It seems that there is a policy on everything now!


  • Yes, this policy is used at our school.
    To be honest I found this gift giving a bit outrageous. A teacher is doing their job and gets payed for it by their boss (the same way a nurse is payed by their boss and is not allowed to receive gifts from the patients/clients) . Their boss is the one who should give the teachers an end of year gift. BTW as parents we pay already a certain amount for our kids to go to school.


  • A small token of thanks is always lovely!


  • What a weird policy. In primary school it happened that a group of mothers gave a gift card to the class teacher. It was nice to do it together with other people, because that way you could reach a nice amount (around 300 dollars). I don’t understand much this new policy.


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