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Please note that this is general information and may not be relevant to your particular matter. This should not be taken as legal advice.
The climate of COVID19 has led to an increase in working from home due to public health orders. A frequent enquiry the Working Womens Centre receives is employees seeking advice on their right to continue working from home. For some, medical conditions or parental obligations means that it is more convenient to continue working from home.
Requesting to Work from Home
Employees may make a request to their employer for flexible working arrangements. This includes a request to work from home.
To be eligible in requesting a flexible working arrangement under the National Employment Standards, you must have been working for the employer for a period of 12 months.
If you are a casual worker, you must have been working for the employer for a period of 12 months on a regular and systematic basis and intend to continue working on this basis.
Please see the following draft template to make a request to your employer to work from home:
Re: Request for Flexible Working Arrangement | Working from Home
I am writing to request a flexible working arrangement as at [DATE] until [DATE].
As I have been employed by [BUSINESS NAME] for over 12 months, I am entitled to make this request pursuant to section 65 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (“the Act”).
My reason for this request is due to:
[SET OUT DETAILS OF REQUEST AND REASON FOR CHANGE].
[EXAMPLE: MY PARENTAL OBLIGATIONS MEAN I AM REQUIRED TO COLLECT MY CHILD FROM SCHOOL AT 3:30PM. THIS IS FACILITATED BY MY WORKING FROM HOME AS I AM ABLE TO DO THIS ON MY LUNCH BREAK]
Due to these circumstances, I am requesting to continue [OR] commence working from home at my current contracted hours [OR] at altered hours.
I look forward to your response within 21 days of receipt of this letter.
Should your employer’s request recent medical evidence in response to your request for flexible working arrangements, in some instances, this can be seen as a reasonable request.
Employees must follow lawful and reasonable directions given by their employers.
Failing to follow a lawful and reasonable direction can be grounds for a dismissal, providing appropriate disciplinary measures are followed. You should obtain legal advice on the specific nature of your employer’s request and any legal obligation you have to comply with a management direction.
Work Health and Safety when Working from Home
A Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) has a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of workers while at work. An employee has a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and to follow reasonable directions from management.
The employer’s duty to ensure the health and safety of workers extends to while employees are working from home. Given the current climate of COVID19 and the increase of working from home, it is important that workers are set up to work from home in a safe way.
Performing work from home can present new risks to health and safety. Potential concerns for health and safety that arise from working from home include:
Working Women’s Centre Recommendation
We strongly encourage employees to join their relevant Union for ongoing support and advice in relation to their employment rights.
To find your relevant union and join today, please see the following link: