Procedure: Home-based work
- This procedure applies to all staff, while conducting University business activities at a home-based work site, either within Australia or overseas.
- It excludes University business conducted as fieldwork or remote locations away from their usual place of work and while travelling, which is not conducted in a home environment. Requirements for these conditions are covered in the Working safely away from campus procedure.
- The University is committed to fostering and developing an environment in which staff simultaneously excel at their roles while fully participating in their broader lives.
- The University achieves this in part through flexibility for staff as it applies to responsibilities, achievements, personal and professional development and success at work.
- Home-based work is a part of this flexibility and enables the use of flexible work arrangements by staff with the agreement of the University’s approved delegate.
- Requests for home-based work are assessed with regard to the requirements of the College, Research School or Service Division, the staff member’s duties, cost, the proportion of time to be spent at the home site, and the suitability of the home-based work site.
- The University endeavours to accommodate the needs and preferences of the staff member where possible. While all requests are considered by the approved delegate having regard to the work area’s priorities, these arrangements are not rights and are available only after approval of the delegate has been received.
- Staff undertaking home-based work are covered by the same principles of the Safety and Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) that apply to staff on campus.
- Common reasons for requests for home-based work include:
- to assist staff in balancing family and carer responsibility in accordance with the work and study flexibility policy;
- to assist staff living with disability in maintaining healthy and equitable participation in University life in accordance with the disability policy and the equal opportunity policy; and
- in conjunction with a return to work program following injury, subject to assessment of the Rehabilitation Case Manager.
- The relevant delegate, is responsible for considering and approving initial and review home-based work requests in accordance with this procedure. This includes consideration and approval of costs to be paid by the work area relating to a worksite assessment, set-up and/or reasonable adjustment of the home-based site.
- The relevant Supervisor is responsible for reviewing home-based work requests and assisting to detail the arrangements, work tasks and conditions of work that is in place, including consideration of review by the Work Environment Group (WEG), for the approved delegate’s consideration.
- The relevant Supervisors is responsible for providing clear goals and expectations, monitoring the staff member’s progress and undertaking a review of the home-based work agreement in consultation with the staff member at least once every six month period.
- Staff members are responsible for consulting with their supervisor about the proposed home-based work arrangements, providing all necessary documentation and undertaking the relevant work health and safety assessments in consultation with WEG or suitably qualified health professionals and as detailed in this procedure.
- Staff members are responsible for checking whether working from home has any impact on any existing insurance arrangements they may have, including public liability or their own equipment covered by home contents insurance, and any obligations they may have to notify their insurer that their home is to be used for work purposes.
- Staff members undertaking home-based work are responsible for associated costs such as internet or telephone expenses and other household running costs unless agreed otherwise by the delegate.
- If a staff member has an accident or sustains an injury while undertaking home-based work, the staff member is required to report to their Supervisor and via the Workplace safety incident and hazard reporting tool (Figtree), within 24 hours of this occurring.
- Staff members undertaking home-based work are required to follow the same processes for notifying of absences (e.g. sick leave, carer’s leave) through HORUS, that apply to all staff.
Work Environment Group
- WEG is responsible for providing advice on the home-based work assessment outcomes, recommended ergonomic adjustments and providing (as required) a list of suitably qualified health professionals to undertake a site inspection, if deemed necessary.
Starting the process
- A staff member makes an application in writing on the home-based work self-assessment and work schedule form to their immediate supervisor to request a home-based working arrangement. An individual flexibility agreement may also be required.
- The supervisor emails the application to firstname.lastname@example.org, who will review the work health and safety standards of the home environment from the information provided, and then reply directly to the supervisor with an endorsement of the work site, or further recommendations to be actioned.
- To ensure the staff member has an appropriate set-up and to reduce the possibility of injury, WEG may deem it necessary for a site inspection of the home-based work locations to be conducted (in person or through an online option such as ZOOM). This is to be carried out by a suitably qualified professional, with any costs of the assessment to be met by the relevant College, Research School or Service Division. If access to the home-based site is required by the University, the consent of the employee is required before the visit at a mutually agreed time.
- The supervisor provides the completed form to the approved delegate for consideration.
- The approved delegate assesses applications for home-based work having regard to the following:
- the requirements of the College, Research School or Service Division including the potential impact on performance of the work unit as a result of the home-based work arrangement;
- the essential requirements of the position and suitability of the staff member’s duties for home-based work;
- any cost to be funded by the relevant College, Research School or Service Division;
- the proportion of time to be spent at the home site and work site and the potential impact on the staff member’s work performance as a result of the home-based work arrangement;
- whether there is a suitable home-based work site available, as assessed by the WEG; and
- in the case of a return to work program following injury, home-based work is assessed as suitable by the Rehabilitation Case Manager and an appropriate medical practitioner.
- The University ensures that a staff member working from home has the same opportunities for professional training and development as University based staff.
- All University policies that apply at the staff member’s usual place of work apply to the home-based site as far as practicable.
- The University is not responsible for any liability on the part of a third party that is not a staff member of the University at the home-based site.
Suitability of work for home-based work arrangements
- Examples of duties that may be considered unsuitable for home-based work include work:
- that requires the staff member to service University facilities/assets;
- where the staff member requires access to specialist equipment or facilities not able to be accessed or provided in a home-based work site;
- where the staff member is unable to maintain confidentiality of information at the home-based work site; and
- where the staff member has little control over the workflow or demands of the job.
Designation of home-based site
- As part of the application for home-based work, the staff member informs the University of the designated area in the home to be used as the work site. The area designated is deemed to be the home-based work site and all other areas of the dwelling are not classified as the work site. Refer to the home-based work self-assessment and work schedule form and the individual flexibility agreement.
- Work health and safety inspections may be carried out in order to ensure that the proposed site is habitable and conforms to acceptable work health and safety standards commensurate with the type of work being undertaken and the risks involved. Such safety standards include (but are not limited to) working smoke alarms, door locks and emergency egress points.
- If access to the home-based site is required by the University, the consent of the employee is required before the visit at a mutually agreed time. The purpose of the visit must be stipulated when seeking the employee’s consent and may include access for WHS purposes, maintenance of faulty equipment, or monitoring security arrangements.
- The approved delegate must be satisfied that appropriate measures are in place to ensure the security of University information and assets.
- The approved delegate seeks additional advice from the WEG prior to approval if there are any pre-existing or ongoing concerns that require specialist work health and safety advice.
- Approval for any proposed working from home arrangement is not granted by the approved delegate until any modifications to the home-based work site, as recommended by the WEG, have been made.
- If a suitable designated home-based site is not identified, a working from home arrangement is not approved.
Terms, conditions and duties - Negotiation and Agreement
- If the home-based work request is approved, the terms and conditions of the home-based agreement are discussed/negotiated and agreed to by the staff member, supervisor and the approved delegate. Refer to the home-based work form.
- The terms and conditions include methods by which the supervisor monitors the staff member’s home-based work, e.g. staff member’s delivery on their performance development review (PDR), regular reviews and feedback, phone calls, or other communication mechanisms. Home-based work is a shared responsibility and the supervisor has an obligation to provide clear goals and monitor the staff member’s progress.
- As a minimum the home-based work agreement and terms and conditions are reviewed every 12 month period.
Termination of the home-based work arrangement
- The University reserves the right to discontinue a home-based work arrangement if the operational requirements of the business area are no longer able to be met through the flexible work option.
- Prior to expiry, either party may terminate the agreement provided that the party wishing to terminate gives reasonable notice.
- Reasonable notice is four weeks if the previously agreed period for home-based work was for six months or more; or two weeks if the previously agreed period for home-based work was for less than six months.
Legal and other requirements
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth)
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth)
Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth)
|Printable version (PDF)|
|Title||Home based work|
|Purpose||To inform staff of how to apply for home based work including the designation and assessment of a home based worksite.|
|Topic/ SubTopic||Staff - Health & Working Safely|
|Effective Date||27 Aug 2020|
|Review Date||27 Aug 2023|
|Responsible Officer:||Director, Human Resources|
|Approved By:||Chief Operating Officer|
|Contact Area||Human Resources Division|
Australian National University Act 1991
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
Work Health & Safety Act 2011
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011
Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988