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Back to the office: Disputes loom between employers and employees as restrictions ease

Ross and Russel
Article image for Back to the office: Disputes loom between employers and employees as restrictions ease

With public servants ordered to return to the office for at least three days per week, and COVID-19 restrictions set to remove office capacity limits on Friday, disputes between workers and employers are brewing.

A legal expert says some employees may have grounds to refuse a return to the office.

Principal lawyer at Maurice Blackburn’s employment practice, Kamal Farouque, urged workers to know their rights.

“The Fair Work Act … confers rights to ask for flexible working arrangements — that could include working from home,” he told Ross and Russel.

“Several categories of workers have those rights … an employee who is a parent or a carer, an employee who is 55 years or older.

“They have a right to request flexible working arrangements and an employer can’t unreasonably refuse that request.”

Mr Farouque said employers who aren’t legally obliged to offer flexible working arrangements should still consider doing so.

“Employers should be very careful, otherwise they’re going to lose good staff to employers who actually offer those attractive working arrangements,” he said.

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Ross and Russel
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