CPSU members can take credit for their role in making the following things happen:

  1. The ABC formally recognising hybrid work is here to stay.
  2. The ABC formally recognising WFH flexibility for field and onsite workers.
  3. Revised ABC Work From Home Guidelines.
  4. Confirmation of 1 July national Return to Work deadline.

Your collective efforts have led to these outcomes, now we need to make sure managers approve applications and meet their consultation obligations under the WHS Act.

Why these developments matter

The recognition of hybrid work is a big step from where the ABC was in 2020 when the CPSU commenced our campaign for work from home rights beyond the pandemic. Hybrid work and the ability to work from home are highly valued employment condition and will be necessary for employers to provide to attract and retain staff.

There’s no doubt that the ABC’s frontline workers have missed out on the benefits of working from home to date, so it’s great to see the ABC’s leadership recognise and give in-principle support for ad-hoc work from home arrangements for these workers in the revised policy.

The ABC’s revised Work From Home guidelines are a vast improvement on their predecessor. In addition to giving in-principal support for hybrid work and ad-hoc WFH flexibility, the language is more succinct, positive, and encouraging. The CPSU will be sending members a detailed critique of the new policy next week highlighting the areas that we believe require further improvement.

Many managers and staff alike have reported feeling on working from home and return to work expectations for months. Now we have a clear decision to transition staff back onsite by the 1 July, members can now pursue meaningful conversations about local COVID Safety and RTW plans for their work areas, and assessing WFH applications. On a practical note, WFH applications must be decided by your manager within 21 days of the application being made.

What you can do to make sure it happens

  1. Join the union – every new union member directly increases our power to persuade your employer to do the right things by its workers.
  2. Ask a colleague to join the union – it’s a fact that more people will join the union when they are asked by their ABC colleagues and friends and when they see union members are active and union-proud.
  3. Initiate WHS consultation with your manager – ask them to circulate the draft local safety plan, discuss the plans with your colleagues, provide your manager with collective feedback on the improvements or changes your team are seeking etc. Ask your local Health and Safety representative to brief you on your rights and how they can support you in your role.
  4. Don’t let unresolved issues go unaddressed – some matters will need to be escalated to get a better outcome. Whether it’s a local decision or a top-down one, not all ABC decisions are right and some need to be challenged so they can be walked back.
  5. Involve your local CPSU organiser – CPSU members having access to the correct industrial advice is one of the most critical benefits of union membership. Our organisers can support you behind the scenes or they can make direct representations to the ABC on behalf our members collectively.

If you have any questions please contact your local CPSU organiser or call 1300 137 636.