Sydney (Tribune International, Premier Office Release, 4 Oct 2020): Public Servants across the NSW Government will begin returning to work in the office in coming weeks as part of a COVID Safe transition.
Flexible working arrangements, including staggered start and finish times, will be in place to allow as many workers to return to their offices in a COVID Safe manner, providing a major boost for the Sydney economy.
Due to COVID-19 public health orders and the application of the four-square metre rule the number of employees returning to work across Government will differ depending on the office spaces available.
As has been the case for the past few months, employees will be urged to travel outside of peak times where possible to help maintain social distancing on public transport and where unable to social distance to consider wearing a face mask.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said public servants returning safely to the office was an important step in the State’s recovery but warned we couldn’t afford to become complacent.
“The health and safety of the people of NSW has always been our number one priority, however we are also focussed on firing up the economy,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We are now encouraging public servants to physically return to work in their offices in a COVID Safe way, which will help stimulate city-based businesses and create more jobs across the state.
“The Government will continue to review health advice and aim to ensure we keep people safe and at the same time allow them to return to their normal lives as much as possible.”
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said public servants returning safely to the office was an important economic signal for not just the State but the country.
“Our top-class health response and contact tracing has managed to help contain COVID-19 and we now need to begin returning our city safely to a more normal footing,” Mr Perrottet said.
“This is an important step, and as workers return safely to the city it will help boost confidence and support businesses who have suffered over the past six months.”
Department managers will be tasked with ensuring staff follow a COVID-19 Safety Plan and utilise flexible rostering where possible to allow travel on public transport outside of peak hours.
These arrangements for returning to work will comply with the current Public Health Orders:
- The Gathering and Movement Order requires employers to allow their employees to work from home if reasonably practicable.
- While office gatherings are generally exempt from the public health orders, NSW Government offices adopt the 4 square metre rule voluntarily in line with COVID-safe practices.
The move follows the recent Summer Summit of business and industry leaders, organised by the Treasurer and Planning Minister Rob Stokes, which heard about the importance of CBD office workers returning safely to the city to help boost business.