Here’s an unlikely story that you’ll be able to tell your grandkids one day: the time when you were told to dob in your boss for having the cheek to tell you to come to work!
Well, sort of. But that’s the gist of the message from Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, who has told employers that they have an obligation to keep their employees working from home until at least the end of June.
“If an office that had currently, say, 80% of their staff working from home then says ‘oh well, we’ll just ignore the Chief Health Officer and we will have everybody come back Monday’, then they would be in breach of the public health orders,” Andrews said in a statement on Friday, 29 May.
Too many people are using public transport
State authorities have become concerned at the increasing number of people using public transport – always a potential infection hotspot – and fear that simply telling them to use private transport to get to work would result in traffic chaos on the roads.
So the order issued by the Premier is for the state’s Chief Health Officer to ensure that workers are being kept at home unless in exceptional circumstances.
You can see the Premier’s tweet and the public’s responses here:
Going into the office is not discretionary
“To date, we’ve left the ins and outs of how this will work to Victorians and their employers,” Andrews stated. “But going forward – and in light of new evidence indicating increased activity – the obligation for employers to keep their staff working from home will now be included in the Chief Health Officer’s directions.
“That means there will now be a clear and shared responsibility between workers and their bosses. For employees, that means an obligation to keep working from home. And for employers, an obligation to support them in doing so.”
See video of the Premier’s announcement here.
Victorians must use common sense, says Premier
As part of the general easing of restrictions, Victorian authorities will from Monday no longer be giving people a specific list of reasons for which they may leave home. This will become largely discretionary – except for the requirement to keep working remotely.
“Instead, we’ll be asking people to use that same common sense, and that same sense of community, in the weeks and months to come,” the Premier said.
“Some measures, though, must stay the same. By working from home, we limit the number of people moving around – and we limit the spread of this virus.”
He added: “As we’ve said from the start, our actions will always be guided by evidence. Right now, we can’t have the usual number of people on our trains, trams and buses. It just isn’t safe.”