Following advocacy from CPSU representatives last week, in the media over the weekend, and pressure on local management from members around the country, Services Australia has shifted its position on working from home.

NSW, Vic, ACT, SA and Qld

Services Australia has advised Senior Managers that from today, staff in these jurisdictions may commence transitioning to working from home (WFH) arrangements, where it is practical to do so, unless undertaking critical functions that cannot be performed from home.

Services Australia has said: “Office in a Box (OIAB) will be prioritised to protect service delivery capability. As staff transition to a WFH arrangement, it is advised this occurs at the end of a working day to minimise disruption to operations and other staff who are working from the office.”

Services Australia’s priority order for OIAB is:

  1. Service delivery or non-service delivery single points of failure.
  2. Staff with compromised health and those that are at higher risk (or caring for higher risk household family members)
  3. Other service delivery functions as prioritised by DCEO Service Delivery and DCEO Payments and Integrity.

Services Australia’s preference for staff who can do so is to use their desktop at home.

This measure will remain in place until 31 January 2022, at which time the situation will be reviewed.

Arrangements for Tas, NT and WA

Services Australia has said “WA, NT and TAS workplaces are not currently covered by these arrangements as their state and territory governments have not recommended staff should work from home, at this time”.

Given the high numbers of daily cases in Tasmania and the NT, CPSU has responded to Services Australia arguing strongly that work from home for public health reasons should be made available in those jurisdictions as well.

RAT testing and meeting with Services Australia tomorrow

CPSU representatives have also raised members concerns that some staff are being asked for a statutory declaration to accompany a positive RAT test for access to leave. Obviously, this is impracticable as the staff member must isolate. CPSU is seeking a change from Services Australia to its Leave Guide to clarify this error.

There are other matters arising in this latest iteration of the fast-developing COVID situation. CPSU representatives are meeting with Services Australia tomorrow afternoon. If you have an issue you want raised, please email us at [email protected].