Government must provide clarity to public sector on remote-working arrangements during COVID-19 crisis

Greens spokesperson for the Public Sector Hon Alison Xamon MLC has called on the Government to provide clear direction to public sector organisations on how workers should perform their roles during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Xamon said she was concerned to learn many public sector workers were still being told to come into work, despite there being options to work from home.

She said while she recognised it was not possible for all workers to work from home, including those working on the frontline of Child Protection, or in prisons, for example – she was concerned many office workers were still being obliged to come into the office unnecessarily.

“I share the concerns of the CPSU/CSA, that public sector organisations have not received clear direction on who should still attend work, and who can reasonably work from home,” Ms Xamon said. “And I am very concerned that these issues are having to be resolved on a case by case basis, it shouldn’t be this hard.”

“Forcing employees to come to the office when there are remote-working options available is at odds with social-distancing guidelines – it endangers the health of workers and the whole community.”

Ms Xamon said the working from home policies across many departments and agencies indicated that employees could not work from home while caring for children.

She said the Government must ensure flexibility on this policy at this time, because parents and caregivers concerned about children’s safety are keeping them home from school and childcare centres.

“The services we all rely on should continue, but we must all urgently look at the way we work,” Ms Xamon said.

“The Government must provide clear information to the public sector – and do all it can to ensure workers are kept safe during the coronavirus pandemic.”