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Businesses flying blind on workplace regulations in WFH age

Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores
11 August 2020 1 minute readShare
Thea Birss

Small businesses are forgetting that they still have a responsibility to make sure their staff are operating in a safe workplace even when they are working from home, says a workplace lawyer.

Thea Birss of NDA Lawyers noted the amount of calls she’s been receiving from small-business owners had increased, with most asking about COVID-related workplace issues including working from home, flexible hours, health and safety, and JobKeeper regulations. 

She said navigating all the complex workplace awards and regulations is difficult at the best of times, but the COVID-19 crisis has taken that to a new level.

“At the moment, the biggest problem is that employers forget when staff are working from home they still have a responsibility to make sure it’s a safe workplace,” Ms Birss said.

“That can be as simple as getting all remote staff to self-assess with an online survey, or, more formally, to send a consultant out to inspect the home office premises and to recommend changes that need to be made to ensure a staff member isn’t going to trip, fall, slip down stairs, or even to ensure there is no situation concerning domestic violence that could be dangerous for your employee.”

The comments come as a majority of Australians are seeing the benefits of working from home, with a survey from RobertsDay finding that 72 per cent pointed to gaining more time by avoiding the daily commute as a major positive.

Work/life balance was the second most enjoyable aspect of working from home for nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of respondents, while more than half (57 per cent) loved not having to dress for work.

Further, 36 per cent of respondents most enjoyed having fewer distractions in their home office environments as it enabled them to be more productive.

Businesses flying blind on workplace regulations in WFH age
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Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is the deputy editor of MyBusiness. Before that, he was the deputy editor for SMSF Adviser as well as features editor for ifa (Independent Financial Adviser), InvestorDaily, Risk Adviser, Fintech Business and Adviser Innovation.

You can email Adrian at [email protected].

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