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People being connected through remote work.

Could remote work become a legal right?

Recommendations on work from home will be made to federal government with review.

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Remote work has been proven to be beneficial for employers and employees.
37% of Australians regularly work from home.
it’s important for people to gather in one place occasionally to maintain social interaction.

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Millions of Australians could soon find themselves with the opportunity to work remotely as the nation’s workplace regulatory body considers substantial changes that could redefine labour laws.

The Fair Work Commission is currently in discussions regarding the potential entitlement of flexible work arrangements. This conversation follows closely on the heels of recent legislation granting employees the right to ignore calls and messages from their employers outside of regular working hours.

The review encompasses a range of workplace issues that impact approximately 2.2 million workers on award wages. According to a report by news.com.au, the potential outcomes of this review are poised to spark contention among business groups, which are at odds with the federal government’s broad workplace reforms. Ultimately, the commission will provide recommendations to the government, which will then assess the findings and potentially propose legislative changes to parliament.

Remote work’s impact

Workplace Minister Tony Burke has highlighted instances where remote work has proven beneficial for both employees and employers, urging businesses to engage in constructive dialogue on this matter.

“It’s logical that the Fair Work Commission is examining and considering submissions to see how they align with the awards system,” he stated to news.com.au.

Majority of Australian workers desire the option to work remotely, with 60% supporting a hybrid model combining home and office work.

Currently, around 37% of Australians regularly work from home, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a slight decrease from 2022 levels. While Australian workers do not have a general entitlement to remote work, they can request this arrangement under specific conditions after a year with their employer.

Research conducted by the Melbourne Institute indicates that a majority of Australian workers desire the option to work remotely, with 60% supporting a hybrid model combining home and office work.

Cautions regarding remote work

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese acknowledged the positive impact of remote work, particularly for working mothers, while also cautioning against a one-size-fits-all approach across workplaces.

“I believe it’s important for people to gather in one place occasionally to maintain social interaction,” he told reporters in Sydney.

A discussion paper released by Fair Work in January suggests that remote work does not necessarily hinder overall productivity. However, it presents challenges for employers, such as facilitating mentoring and spontaneous collaboration, and blurs the boundaries between work and personal time, potentially affecting employee well-being.

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