Bosses across NSW told to let employees work from home as health order extends to the regions

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Employees across NSW are being urged to dob in bosses who insist they come into work when it’s possible for them to work from home as the state seeks to rein in the current COVID outbreak.

NSW Health on Tuesday issued a statement highlighting employer obligations in Sydney under the current Sydney lockdown, as well as what was now required under amended public health order extending to regional NSW.

It said that in “Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour), employers are required to direct employees to work from home where reasonably practicable”.

But the statement added that “under amended public health orders, employers in regional NSW must allow people to work from home where reasonably practicable.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has taken aim at bosses who make workers come in when they could work from home. Credit: AAP/ Getty

Earlier, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addressed concerns some small business employers were ignoring the orders, saying workers should dob in bosses who called them in to workplaces unnecessarily.

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There are harsh penalties in place for employers forcing their employees into work sites.’

“Please know that from tomorrow (Wednesday) there are harsh penalties in place for employers forcing their employees into work sites unless they are absolutely necessary,” the premier said.

“That is really an important tool for us to make sure that employees are not forced out of their homes if they can safely do their work from home.”

Working from home matters

Berejiklian’s comments came as she confirmed the state had recorded 78 new COVID cases, with 29 of those out in the community during part or all of their infectious period.

“That 78 number would have been much, much higher had people not been doing the right thing,” she said.

“We just need everybody to stick with it, to make sure that you protect you and your family and work colleagues, in particular.”

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Make sure that you protect you and your family and work colleagues.’

However, Berejiklian guaranteed construction would reopen in some capacity on July 31 while arguing against the Victorian model of allowing the industry to operate at 25 per cent capacity.

“Putting a percentage on it causes more confusion,” the premier said.

The two-week pause allowed all worksites and contractors to become COVID-safe after too many were found to have written but not implemented safety plans.

The industry on Monday lobbied for some workers to return to sites immediately and warned some businesses could face bankruptcy.

“Sub-contractors cannot sustain a third or fourth week of this. Our industry will be a basket case,” CFMEU NSW secretary Darren Greenfield said on 2GB.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said her “strong” health advice to the government was to take action that decreased mobility and interactions between individuals, citing a number of workplace outbreaks.

A total of 1418 people have now been diagnosed with the virus since the outbreak began on June 16.

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