Home Australia Major change to working from home rules for thousands of Australians – here’s what they mean for you

Major change to working from home rules for thousands of Australians – here’s what they mean for you

by Elijah
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More than 85,000 federal government employees have gained more generous rights to work from home (file image)

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More than 85,000 federal government employees have gained more generous rights to work from home.

The changes for workers at the Department of Home Affairs, Australian Services and the Australian Taxation Office mean there is now no limit on the number of days they are allowed to work from home each week.

Written requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but there will be a “bias in approving requests.” The Australian reported.

Requests may be rejected in situations where it would have a negative impact on customer service and productivity, as well as being too costly.

More than 85,000 federal government employees have gained more generous rights to work from home (file image)

More than 85,000 federal government employees have gained more generous rights to work from home (file image)

However, employees can appeal the decision to the Fair Work Commission.

More than 93 per cent of Services Australia workers and 91 per cent of Home Affairs staff voted in favor of the changes.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox condemned the decision and said many professions, such as traders, teachers and doctors, had no choice but to report to work.

“It is simply a sickening confirmation of how far removed the federal public service, its unions and, sadly, the government are from the reality of work,” he told the publication.

Public and Community Section Union national secretary Melissa Donnelly responded and said his comments were “deeply offensive”.

He said research had shown “improved workforce participation” among a range of employees working from home.

“(Mr Willox’s comments) also ignore the reality of how effective working from home has been for employees and employers, not just the public sector,” he said.

“There are really substantial benefits and win-win opportunities for both employees and employers, and if business groups can’t see that, then they’re not representing their members very well.”

It comes as the Fair Work Commission is studying the possibility of making working from home a legal right that could affect 2.2 million Australians’ wage awards.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 37 per cent of Australians regularly work from home, down slightly from 2022.

Public and Community Section Union national secretary Melissa Donnelly said research had shown “improved workforce engagement” across a range of employees working from home.

Currently, Australian employees do not have a general or legal right to work from home.

However, workers can apply to their employer under certain conditions, but only if they have worked for their boss for a minimum of 12 months.

If work from home were to become a new labor law, it would most likely anger business groups who are against the federal government’s latest labor reforms.

The review comes just a month after new workplace laws were passed in Australia allowing workers to disconnect from the workplace.

Under that new law, Australian workers can ignore calls and texts from their bosses and colleagues after hours.

According to research from the Melbourne Institute, the majority of Australian workers would like to have the right to work from home at least part of the time.

Sixty percent of workers were happy with the flexibility of a hybrid work arrangement, which is a combination of working from home and in the office.

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