Working from home and COVID-safe site plans

CPSU members and representatives are pushing for better access to Working from Home arrangements, and a safe return to worksites when it is appropriate.

The results are in - working from home is a good thing!

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) recently collaborated with researchers Associate Professor Linda Colley, CQUniversity, and Dr Sue Williamson, UNSW Canberra, to undertake a research project, Working during the pandemic, to gather data about the experience of public sector employees working during the COVID-19 crisis.

It is clear from the results that there are benefits to the department and staff to improved access to working from home arrangements post pandemic.

Have a look at this one-page summary of the results - they may surprise you. The full academic report will be available in September.

WFH negotiations

The CPSU has met with Defence to discuss ways we can work together to improve workplace flexibility for employees, including continued access to working from home arrangements.

Discussions so far have been positive, with Defence indicating that it is open to improving working from home policies and practices. In the coming weeks, we are hoping to see real, concrete commitments that will benefit employees and the agency as a whole.

What are we looking to see?

  • A commitment to actively support employees accessing working from home where they wish to do so, including a presumption that all employees can work from home.
  • Support for employees so that technology works, employees can work from home safely using the right equipment, and continued use of video conferencing facilities. 
  • Working from home arrangements should be approved unless there is a compelling operational reason not to on that occasion.
  • Protections against unsociable working hours.
  • There should be transparency, with the agency reporting on work from home requests, approvals and rejections to the consultative committee.
  • There should be continued discussions with employees and unions to continue to improve access to flexible working arrangements.

Become a member today to be part of the campaign to win ongoing access to working from home.

COVID-Safe Workplaces

Feedback from members has been overwhelmingly positive regarding Defence's approach to working from home during the pandemic and ensuring worksites are safe for those attending site.

Site plans are being developed at a local level to ensure they account for different risk exposure in each site and the state WHS jurisdiction the site falls under.

Prior to workers returning to the workplace, Defence must have COVID-Safe site plans in place. These plans must be developed in consultation with staff, their HSRs, and unions.

While the plans we have seen are good, we have received mixed feedback from members about visibility of the plans. We are waiting on a response from Defence to understand what audit process is in place to ensure all sites have a plan and that that plan is clearly visible to staff.