HRBC Forum Summary

February 2021: Mandatory Vaccinations and the Future of working from home

In the first HR Breakfast Club of the year, Gabrielle Sullivan of BAL Lawyers explored the issue of vaccines and working from home as an employer in 2021.

In opening, Gabrielle explored how employers owe a duty of care to both their employees and visitors within the workplace, that duty covers the elimination or minimisation of risks to health and safety so far as reasonably practicable.

Workers owe their employer a similar duty, that is implied in every contract of employment – a duty to obey lawful and reasonable directions. The ‘reasonableness’ depends on the nature of the employment, and the circumstances of the direction.

Gabrielle then went on to discuss the changes that have occurred in the workplace, and how many professions are moving to a hybrid work from home model due to it’s popularity with many employees.

However, working from home presents its own unique work health and safety problems.

Safe Work Australia found more than 533 workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19 were made by 31 July 2020, with Comcare reporting 25 work-from-home related injury claims between March and June 2020 alone. Additionally, domestic and family violence presents an increasing danger when working from home and this presents unique and unprecedented challenges for employers.

Employers must be aware so that they are able to act accordingly for the best interests of their staff and their organisation as a whole.

Contact our Employment Law & Investigations Team for more information.

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