Public Service: It's time to work from home

The union representing the federal public sector, the CPSU, says the Morrison Government must ensure the Australian Public Service activate and implement as broadly as possible working from home arrangements so that public service workers can work from home.

With the majority of private sector including banking moving entirely to remote work arrangements, it is critical to our public health response to see the public sector do the same.

Right now, there are departments and agencies blocking working from home arrangements or unnecessarily delaying their implementation. This is reckless and short-sighted.

It is time for the Australian Public Service Commission to issue a clear directive to all agencies and departments to implement these arrangements. Recalcitrant managers are putting our public sector workers at risk and putting at risk the public health measures governments are trying to implement.

There are of course key front-line services including Services Australia where working from home is a more complicated proposition, but even in these workplaces there needs to be social distancing and sanitation enforcement, and working from home should be properly considered.

CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly said, “Last night the Prime Minister told the nation that working from home should be strongly encouraged and undertaken where possible. This morning we continue to deal with APS agencies dragging their heels on implementing these arrangements. It is just shocking that they are ignoring this for their own work force.”

“The CPSU is calling on the Morrison Government to ensure all public sector workers who can, must be allowed and supported to work from home. We must flatten the curve, and this move is critical.”

“The Australian Tax Office are ready to move most functions to remote work but are dragging their feet due to the mixed messages from the Prime Minister. Conversely, we are seeing agencies such as the NDIA and the Ombudsman moving all to public interactions to phone but are blocking staff from remote work.”

“Where services cannot close, social distancing must be enforced, even if this means moving workers or call centres to other buildings, nothing should be off the table.”