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COVID-19 Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) work location changes

13 April 2020

There have been changes to the Fair Work Act because of COVID-19; more flexibility has been built in.

Below is what you need to know about changes to an employee's work location.

Here’s what’s allowed

An employer and an employee can agree to a location change with an employee if the below conditions are met. 

The conditions below can be found in location of work section 789GF Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

  • the place is suitable for employee duties
  • if the place is not an employee’s home - the employee does not have to travel a distance that’s unreasonable in all the circumstances, and this includes the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic
  • the performance of the employee's duties at the place is: (a) safe also taking into account the spread of COVID-19 and (b) reasonably within the scope of the employer’s business operations. 

Location clause

A well drafted employee contract should have a location clause which states the location an employee will work and if they may be required to work at other locations. 

This clarity helps both parties avoid any misunderstandings or surprises later on. 

Here’s an example of a location clause that allows for flexibility: 

You will perform your duties at the address below and such other locations as required by the employer.

Of course, those other work locations must be reasonable, that is, not require the employee to travel to faraway places without agreement and also reimbursement in some cases. 

As always, get advice about a location clause if you are in doubt. 

Do you have questions or comments? Be sure to leave them below. 


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Vivian Michael
 

Vivian Michael is a lawyer and founder of Michael Law Group. Vivian's mission is to deliver the best quality business legal services to entrepreneurs launching an Australian business, wherever they are in the globe.

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