ACTU Charter risks deterring businesses from accepting working from home arrangements

“The ACTU has flagged its intention to pursue its Working from Home Charter in upcoming enterprise agreement negotiations. This adversarial approach risks the widespread cooperation that is occurring between employers and employees regarding working from home arrangements,” Australian Industry Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

“An employer that agrees to the ACTU’s charter would be committing to let all suitable workers work from home. Employers need to maintain the right to require employees to work in offices and other workplaces, consistent with the operational requirements of their businesses.

“The ACTU Charter would require employers to pay a long list of employee expenses including water, electricity, gas, stationery, equipment, amenities, telephone and internet. However, any balanced discussion about employee costs should take into account the savings on petrol, parking, tolls and public transport associated with working from home. Employees who are working from home are entitled to claim 80c per hour as a tax deduction.

“The reality is that a large proportion of white collar employees want to work from home for at least part of the time, and employers are typically endeavouring to accommodate the needs of employees to the extent that operational requirements permit this.

“If unions start pursuing the ACTU Working From Home Charter in workplaces, this is likely to discourage employers from continuing with working from home arrangements once the pandemic is over.

“There has been great cooperation over working from home and you’d hope that can continue as a hybrid model takes hold but, as usual, unions are seeking to impose centralised rigidities and constraints on employer/employee cooperation,” said Mr Willox.

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