The minimum acceptable amount to place in a workplace collection for a colleague’s leaving present will rise to £2.50 on 1 April, office social secretaries have officially announced. The rise of around 10% from the current rate of £2.25 reflects rising costs of contributions, which are calculated using the current prices of a basket of typical leaving presents. Collection organisers, who have been pressing for a rise in the ‘Leaving Wage’ for months, said that the rise should ease the administrative burden on them.
‘Card prices have gone through the roof, helium balloons have nearly doubled in price, and there are widespread shortages supplies of penis-shaped chocolates, due to a lower global cocoa yields,’ said Tracey Shields, an administrative assistant at a telecoms firm in Swindon who has taken it on herself to organise the last 30 leaving presents at her employer.
‘I also have to charge for my time, because you can’t produce the same card for everyone. ‘Sorry you’re leaving’ is fine for someone who only lasted a few months, but it can be a nightmare if it is someone who was asked to resign after getting drunk and vomiting over the unpopular head of HR at the Christmas party when everyone thought he was a bit of a knob too. Try finding the appropriate card for that situation in Clintons if you can.’
The minimum rate is calibrated each year at a level designed to embarrass around 10% of recalcitrant colleagues to put their hands in their pockets, while at the same time not exceeding the amount someone would typically spend on a lunchtime pasty or a pint of session lager during happy hour.
Setting the Leaving Wage at a level of £2.50 will also, for the first time in years, make it easier to see whether colleagues are actually handing over pound coins and 50 pence pieces rather than slipping in a handful of lower denomination coins and a button into the collection envelope with a nonchalant ‘I think that’s a few quid, I’ll pop a bit more in later’.