Working from home guidance for teaching service employees

This information provides guidance to all ongoing and fixed-term teaching service employees who are working from home as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This guidance also applies to employees engaged directly by the Department or the school council to undertake work on their behalf, if that work is continuing and they are working remotely over this period.

Existing arrangements for flexible work should continue unless alternative arrangements are agreed.

Working from home (remote work) principles

It is the principal's responsibility to make the school-based decisions required to deliver Government education objectives within a framework that enables staff to have input into the decisions that affect their working lives in accordance with the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017.

When determining the working arrangements that will apply in Term 3 and 4, the consultative arrangements in place at each school must be used to ensure staff are consulted on, and have input into, the ways that work may be organised and allocated, particularly the changes to the organisation of the program of instruction to enable remote and onsite teaching and learning.

Guiding principles

All teaching service employees are encouraged to proactively manage workload and health and safety issues during this time.

All teaching service employees should discuss the working from home requirement and how this applies to their particular role and circumstance with their principal or line manager.

Even during this time, the aim of working from home arrangements is to have arrangements that support staff to perform their duties, enable service delivery and be fair and reasonable for all within the current operating context

To ensure we all remain connected, employees are encouraged to work with their principal or line manager to determine matters such as work hours, outcomes, access to systems and information, communication plans and checking in to monitor staff wellbeing.

The School Operating Model - transition to flexible and remote learning specifies Staff hours of work at home will be consistent with the attendance arrangements already in place at each school and determined in accordance with the school's local arrangements.

The COVID-19 Safety Management Plan (COVID Safe Plan) outlines potential hazards and risks in relation to working from home. Principals should review these risks and implement the recommended controls and practical strategies.

The OHS Advisory Service is available to support the implementation of risk controls, assist with local consultation or for any other health and safety matters. Contact the service by phone on 1300 074 715 or email safety@edumail.vic.gov.au

Occupational health and safety (OHS) is critical for staff wellbeing

Wellbeing is a priority as school staff learn to work in different ways in this uncertain time.

Employees are encouraged to follow the guidance that is provided, including:

Employees should contact their principal or line manager if there are any circumstances that inhibit their ability to work remotely to discuss what might be possible

Reasonable workplace adjustment enables employees with a disability or injury to safely perform the inherent requirements of their job. If you require an adjustment, please contact your principal or line manager for advice and assistance.

All employees are encouraged to take regular breaks, stretch when they are able and avoid sitting for long periods.

Additional support for employees can also be provided through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), with video conference capabilities available. Contact the EAP service on 1300 361 008.

Planning your day and communicating when you are on duty and off

Transitioning to working from home may require new arrangements for some employees.

Employees with personal or caring responsibilities may find it difficult to meet these while working from home and are encouraged to discuss arrangements with their principal or line manager. This may include accessing additional leave.

Teaching service employees who are unwell or are caring for someone who is unwell and needs ongoing attention are encouraged to put their needs first.

In this instance employees may access personal or carer's leave or any other leave available in the circumstances.

If employees require childcare, and it is not available, employees may access carer's leave or any other leave available in the circumstances.

Open communication and support while working from home

Principals and employees should identify how and when they will communicate to stay in touch and support each other.

The principal, or a member of the leadership team is encouraged to check in with employees regularly to discuss how work is progressing and discuss any emerging issues.

Keep a register of any office equipment that employees that have taken from the school to commence working remotely. Staff should discuss this with their principal.

For employees who have specific items as a result of prior workplace adjustments, arrangements can be made with their workplace to have those items transported to their home.

Key roles and responsibilities

Employee

Discuss any workplace adjustments that you require with your principal or line manager.

Consider how you can perform your role while working remotely.

Ensure you have access to all relevant information, hardcopy and electronic, that you will need to maintain efficient working from home.

Give regard to the separation of work and personal/caring responsibilities; discuss your planned approach with your principal or line manager and review how this is working regularly.

Ensure security and confidentiality of work.

Notify your principal or line manager immediately if you feel unsafe.

Stay connected and maintain appropriate communication links with your principal and work colleagues.

Regularly review your remote work arrangements as the situation changes.

Principal or nominees

Provide all reasonable support to employees to be safe and productive while working remotely.

Be available for confidential discussions regarding remote working arrangements with employees.

Consider and support alternative arrangements that balance both the needs of the employee and the operational needs of the workplace.

Assess remote working arrangements on a case-by-case basis.

Encourage employees to follow the health and safety and wellbeing standards for remote working.

Support employees with workplace adjustments carrying over to remote working arrangements and review adjustments with the employee to support them.

Support employees to make arrangements to transport the equipment that they need at home to support remote working.

Encourage and support team communication.

Encourage employees to continue to read information updates that may impact on their working arrangements, including: