Employees who have been working from home as a result of the pandemic don’t want to return to the office.
The problem is so bad, employers are hiring lawyers to force their staff back to work.
Work-from-home employees reluctant to go back to the office
The Courier-Mail reports on the stay-at-home “rebellion” speaking to Michael O’Brien from Queensland’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“Employees with mental health (issues) are resisting returning to the workplace as they find it easier to cope from home.
“Employees with caring responsibilities for children, elderly parents or a sick partner have found working at home easier.
“And some who were experiencing difficulties in the workplace, like performance or a poor relationship with their manager, are resisting returning.’’
Employers can sack workers who fail to follow a lawful direction
Jill Hignett from HR Law says her firm is advising employers about their “rights and obligations’’ to get staff back to work.
She told The Courier-Mail that employers can fire workers who refuse to follow a reasonable and lawful direction.
They can also stop paying their wages.
“An employer has the lawful right to direct employees to return to work, provided it is safe to do.
“There have been some employees who are refusing to return to work.
“An employer may have the right to terminate an employee if there is a continued, unfounded reason why the employee refuses to return to the workplace.
“Employees need to be aware that they can’t simply claim they feel unsafe and therefore will not be returning to the workplace.’’
Workers need medical certificate
Hignett said workers need “valid and credible evidence’’ to show it is unsafe for them to return to work.
For example, a medical certificate.
However, some workers are refusing to go back to the office because they live with a person vulnerable to coronavirus.
“Concerns such as these are valid concerns and need to be dealt with by the employer on an individual basis.
“We have also seen some employees now making a claim for flexible conditions – the right to work from home – on the basis that operationally it worked during COVID-19 restrictions so why can’t it be implemented on a permanent basis.
“This is certainly a question employees will need to answer.’’
Please call our specialist team at Fair Work Claims today on
To connect with us, please follow us on
Fair Work Claims is part of the Supportah Network.
We are a private consultancy and advocacy firm with no affiliation to any government agency, commission or tribunal.