While we all might like to help out by volunteering or fundraising, balancing work and family often leaves us with little time to spare. Workplace Giving provides you with an easy and practical way to support MDA and make a difference to the MD community.
If just 10 per cent of the Australian workforce donated $5 a week from their pay through workplace giving, $250 million would be raised for our communities.
Three years ago the Government introduced a tax change to encourage employees to make charitable donations directly from their pay. To encourage participation the Department of Family and Community Services has introduced the Workplace Giving Australia program.
Workplace Giving is a voluntary program where donations are deducted directly from your gross salary each pay period. You also get the benefit of giving pre-tax, making each dollar go further, whilst receiving an immediate tax deduction without the need to keep receipts for tax purposes. This means that the cost for an employee on a 48.5 per cent tax rate, pledging a $10 weekly charitable donation is only $5.15.
The benefit to employees does not lie in the tax deduction alone, by participating in the Workplace Giving program, employees are actively involved in their community and supporting MDA.
For employers, Workplace Giving provides a low cost and easily administered program that can be implemented by using existing payroll systems. The programs simplicity, effectiveness and employee ownership, allows companies to put their corporate social values in action and building strong community relationships.
The benefit to MDA is of course the ability for us to operate our information, respite and support programs. Providing those affected by Muscular Dystrophy with the opportunity to attend CampMDA, where they receive one on one care in a supportive environment amongst their peers, is no small feat, yet a Business with 20 employees participating in the program, each contributing $10 per week, would achieve just that.
By engaging our MD community, employers and employees in building strong community and business partnerships, we can make a difference. For more information on the Workplace Giving program or to discuss setting up a Workplace Giving program in your organisation please contact MDA on +61 3 9320 9555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
There are two options available for incorporating a Workplace Giving program into your business, either in-house or by engaging an advisory organization. An in-house program is delivered through your payroll system. The Australian Taxation Office has a guide titled ‘How to set up a Workplace Giving program‘ which has some helpful advice. Alternatively, you can engage an advisory organization such as Australian Charities Fund or Charities Aid Foundation to assist in developing and managing your Workplace Giving program.
‘Workplace Giving Australia’ is an initiative of ‘The Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership‘, and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Workplace Giving?
Workplace giving allows employees to donate money on a regular basis to a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGRs) directly through their pay.
A DGR is a community organisation that is entitled to receive tax-deductible donations. MDA is registered as a DGR.
What is Workplace Giving Australia ?
Workplace Giving Australia comprises three main elements:
- Workplace Giving Kit (information booklet and CD ROM);
- Workplace Giving Support Program for business, including free workshops, email advisory service, e-newsletter; and
- Workplace Giving Support Program for the Australian Public Service, including access to a case manager to develop or re-launch workplace giving program for Australian Government departments.
Why should our company establish a workplace giving program?
The benefits of operating a successful workplace giving programmes include;
• demonstrated community spirit;
- contribution to the company’s reputation as an ’employer of choice;’
- building business reputation and profile;
- contributing to staff morale and loyalty; and
- building close community relationships.
Why would our staff participate in a workplace giving program?
- If workplace giving is set up as a ‘pre-tax’ program participants receive the benefit of an upfront tax deduction within their weekly, fortnightly or monthly salary;
- Employees receive a payment summary via letter or email from their employer at the end of the financial year, which means that there is no need to keep receipts for tax purposes;
- It is suitable for people who are ‘time poor’ but still want to contribute to the MD community; and
- It is a cost effective way of supporting MDA and the MD community.
How does workplace giving work?
Employers, who wish to offer workplace giving, invite their employees to specify the amount they wish to donate. Generally, the donation amount will be a fixed amount that will be deducted on each pay day.
The donation is paid directly by the employer to MDA. The workplace giving arrangement does not affect an employee’s gross income or other calculations, such as superannuation guarantee payments or fringe benefits (FBT).
What is the cost to employers?
Incorporating payroll giving into an existing payroll system is a relatively simple task. The main cost to the business is in the initial set up of the program (systems changes and entering in deductions for each employee/donor), communications with staff at the establishment phase and in ongoing promotion and reporting back to staff.
Whose responsibility is it to keep track of donations made?
Employers will need to provide written advice detailing the amount donated by each employee at the end of each financial year. This advice can be provided in a letter, by email, or on their payment summary.
How can our business maximise employee participation?
There are a number of ways to encourage staff participation in a workplace giving programme. Some ideas for increasing participation are:
• Endorsement of the programme by senior staff in the organisation;
• Visible participation by senior and respected staff in your organisation;
• Matching staff donations – confirming their commitment to the programme;
• Effective communications to staff on the benefits of the programme;
• Effective feedback to staff on the benefits their contributions have brought to the community organisations they support.
Do all employees have to participate in the program?
No. Workplace giving programmes are voluntary for employees. It should be remembered that no matter how well your workplace giving programme is managed, there might be many valid reasons why some staff may choose not to participate. Staff should never feel pressured or ostracised if they make that choice.