Working from home and the associated isolation should be very real concerns for all businesses that continue to operate in the ‘new normal’ of COVID-19. A work/home balance is easier to maintain when work is separated from home. Coming home ordinarily means leaving work behind until the next day, but when you walk from your bedroom into a home office, the lines can become blurred.
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Our Comprehensive Guide to Employer and Employee rights and obligations as a result of the Bushfires and Natural Disasters
In this article, we take a look at the various scenarios that an employer may be facing, explain their rights and obligations and look at some of the options to manage the situation.
As with the normal workplace, the employer has a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure employee safety and health and to provide an environment free from harassment and discrimination. Inappropriate behaviour at staff functions, which can be attributed to “good cheer” which often accompany these social events, can lead to employers being held liable.
Under the relevant Occupational Health and Safety legislation in each state and territory and the soon to be implemented harmonised WHS laws, employers are generally required to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all employees at work. This can raise difficult issues in how to implement practical measures to protect workers in relation to their own health, safety and welfare.
Most employers will already be aware of the need for flexibility during the crisis and its aftermath in relation to supporting employees during the clean up, difficulties they may face in attending work, providing time off for participation in any emergency services duties, etc. This is of course in the context of their business being able to re-open as quickly as possible and to resume normal business operations.
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