Working from home

Published 10 June 2020 | Updated 8 July 2020

Many employers and employees may use working from home arrangements to help manage the impacts of coronavirus. Employers and employees should consider their specific circumstances before coming to an agreement about working from home.

How to make working from home arrangements

Working from home arrangements are usually agreed between an employer and employee to meet both their needs. Employers and employees should work together to find the best solution for both the workplace and staff when managing the impacts of coronavirus.

Employers under the JobKeeper scheme can use the Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions to direct an eligible employee to work from home. For more information see Directions about changing duties and work location under the JobKeeper scheme.

Employees have the right to request flexible work arrangements in certain circumstances. A flexible work arrangement can include the employee working from home. For more information see Flexible working arrangements.

Employers who want their employees to work from home should check if there are any rules about employees working from home in their:

  • enterprise agreement
  • award
  • employment contracts
  • workplace policies.

Employers and employees should also check any current enforceable government directions that affect whether employees can work at the workplace or other locations. For more information see List of enforceable government directions during coronavirus.

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Workplace health and safety at home

Employers should consider whether an employee’s home is suitable for the type of work they’ll be doing. Workplace health and safety laws still apply when an employee is working from home.

For more information see Safe Work Australia - Working from home external-icon.png.

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Recording hours of work at home

Employers need to make and keep certain records, including an employee’s hours of work in some circumstances. This continues to apply when employees work from home. Employers should consider how employees will record their hours in a way that meets the employer's record-keeping obligations.

Employees need to record their hours of work in some circumstances, for example, annual wage arrangements under some awards. This continues to apply when they work from home. Employers and employees are encouraged to discuss how this should happen.

More information:

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When working from home isn’t possible

For some workplaces, working from home arrangements aren’t possible. When employees need to attend the workplace to work, it’s important that employers consider their workplace health and safety obligations during coronavirus.

For more information see Health and safety in the workplace during coronavirus.

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Employees who may be experiencing family and domestic violence

For some employees, working from home may not be a safe option because they may be experiencing family and domestic violence. In this situation, there may be other arrangements the employer and employee can make.

Under the Fair Work Act, employees dealing with the impact of family and domestic violence can:

  • take unpaid family and domestic violence leave
  • request flexible working arrangements
  • take paid or unpaid sick or carer’s leave, in certain circumstances.

For more information see Family & domestic violence leave.

Resources and support services

Employers can find information about supporting employees experiencing family and domestic violence, including a list of support services, in our Employer Guide to Family and Domestic Violence.

If you or someone you know is impacted by family or domestic violence, contact 1800 RESPECT external-icon.png - the national counselling service for family and domestic violence.

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