UK Worker Keeps Job–From Adelaide

UK worker keeps job – from Adelaide

Article from: The Advertiser
August 16, 2008 12:30am

A COUNCIL worker will keep his job in England despite living 17,000km away in South Australia.
That is all thanks to the internet and a generous boss.

Mat Taylor and his wife Kim decided they wanted their three children, aged 12, nine and two years, to experience life abroad.

They chose Adelaide.

In what is believed to be a world first, however, Mr Taylor's council in Cambridgeshire, England, will allow him to work from home on the other side of the world so that it does not lose his corporate knowledge.

Mr Taylor, the Fenland Council's finance director, had worked in local government there for five years on a $220,000-a-year package.

He was begged to stay when he flagged he was leaving for Australia.

The council offered him a sabbatical so he could test life Down Under before committing to change.

The council then hit on the idea of allowing him to work from Adelaide for a minimum one day a week and be paid on a pro-rata basis for at least 12 months.

“Modern technology within the council linked to the World Wide Web ensures that there are no obstacles in communication,” the council's deputy chief executive Sandra Claxton said.

Council leader Geoff Harper said when the idea was first put to him he asked if there was a precedent.

“The answer was `no',” he said. “I then asked if it was legal and was told it was. The council is confident it will work well, for us and Mat.

“We have found an exciting and innovative way of retaining his considerable expertise until we have recruited someone to replace him.”

Mr Harper said the move was a highly cost-effective solution to the problem of maintaining continuity when there was a change in key personnel. The alternative was to get an interim employee at a cost of more than $1600 a day.

“Fenland has been a fantastic place to live and work,” Mr Taylor said. “As a resident of Fenland for 12 years, I'm really looking forward to being able to remain connected to the great things going on at the council.”

Mr Taylor was described as having “excellent finance management”. That was pivotal in turning around the council's fortunes.

Recent figures show 3000 British migrants came to South Australia in 2005-06.

That was a fourfold increase on three years earlier.

The state's Strategic Plan has a target population of two million by 2050 and has appointed a task force, headed by Monsignor David Cappo, to develop strategies to attract more people to the state and to retain young people here.

SA needs an average growth of 9674 people a year for the next 43 years to reach its two million target.

An immigration agreement with the Philippines will deliver up to 50,000 skilled workers to the state over the next decade.