COVID-19 Working From Home

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More and more employees are being directed to work from home as the coronavirus outbreak hits Australian workplaces.

But what if an employee is injured while working at home, or doesn’t have the proper equipment to do his or her job safely?

What if an employee is injured while working at home?

Under all Australian occupational health and safety laws, employers have the ultimate responsibility for ensuring a safe work environment, wherever that work is carried out.

One of the most common issues that arises when employees work from home is what happens if an employee is injured in the course of his or her employment. In most cases, if an employee is injured while working from home, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will cover that employee. However, employers should check with their insurance providers to be sure, and to check what the insurer needs for the home workplace to be compliant.

What if employees don’t have the right equipment at home?

To ensure employees are using proper equipment, employers could loan or provide employees with appropriate, safe office furniture and equipment, and laptops with appropriate data protections software installed on laptops.

Working from home policies

While most larger employers have a working at home policy in place, many smaller ones do not. Given the timeframes, possibly one approach may be to develop a ‘self-check’ checklist for employees to verify to the employer that the home work space is safe.

Most working from home policies require the employers to check the home workspace personally, but for obvious reasons, this will not be possible in current situation.  In these situations, employees could use Facetime, Skype or Zoom to show employers that the workspace is safe. Unfortunately, if the workspace is not safe, then then employers should not let employees work in that space.

If you don’t have a policy in place, would like a Working from Home Checklist to assist your employees in arranging their Working From Home practices or would like to discuss any aspect of this article, please contact me directly on 03 5499 6131.

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This article has been prepared by Vanessa Baglieri, Marketing Manager. The information provided should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should speak with Rosa Raco directly about your specific circumstances via email rraco@wrlaw.com.au or phone 03 54996131.