JobKeeper COVID-19 - Working from Home - employer must provide tools for working?

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by coins, 19th May, 2020.

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  1. coins

    coins Well-Known Member

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    What happens in this scenario.

    Person has been working as a face-to-face field interviewer for a market research company on a casual part-time basis every weekend with the company providing a Windows based Tablet to conduct interviews, but due to COVID-19 this work is on hold indefinitely. The company asked everyone to send back this Windows based Tablet.

    Fast forward a couple of months and that person is now being paid JobKeeper every fortnight. Company now emails everyone saying you should be prepared to make yourself available to work in CATI interviewing from home by doing telephone interviews and to be successful in this role:
    Have the ability to work from home without interruptions for minimum 4 hour shifts.
    Have access to a Windows based computer.


    The problem is that person doesn't have a Windows based computer therefore can't do the work. Does the company have the legal obligation to provide the tools if they want the casual employee to work from home, or can they tell the person they need to find a Windows computer themselves? The company is wanting people to find their own access to a Windows computer. (Windows Laptops in the shops these days post-COVID19 seem to be very expensive ($1k+ minimum) and not many of choices available, probably bought by people to work from home or kids to study from home.)

    Can the company cancel the person's JobKeeper payments and employment if the person doesn't have a Windows computer?

    Does the person need to accept the new type of job the company is asking for, as it's different from what the person signed up from?
     
    Last edited: 19th May, 2020
  2. Trainee

    Trainee Well-Known Member

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    Depends on spec but laptops do not all cost 1k plus. Simple search on officeworks shows basic computers <500. Most likely tax deductible or at least depreciable.

    Cant be hard to get one on gumtree.
     
  3. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Has the person actually asked to get their tablet back?

    Do this in a email so there is a record. I think there is a good chance of getting the tablet back.

    Alternatively, the person could use a desktop computer - but if they aren’t self employed I can’t see why they should pay for it. Unless the structure of the job has changed (has it moved from part time to casual?).
     
  4. coins

    coins Well-Known Member

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    When going to the local Officeworks store they have hardly any laptops for sale based on the range they have online and the ones instore are all over $1k.

    Yes, have asked about if the company can send the tablet back but they are requesting people to use their own Windows desktop/laptop computers or try to get access to their own one.

    The job structure always was a casual part-time job.
     
  5. philm

    philm Member

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    Given that you were originally supplied with a tablet how about buying a cheap Windows based tablet. I bought myself a cheap $180 tablet just to see if I liked using one and I hardly ever use my laptop now. I find that the cheap tablet does everything that I need to do and I'm not sure that I can even be bothered upgrading it to a better one.
     
  6. Paul@PFI

    [email protected] Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Plus Member

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    I'm confused. Jobkeeper provides no obligation to work. It is a employer compensation paid after a employer pays staff.

    The employer not the employee gets jobkeeper for staff who have been paid the minimum. A employer can terminate staff and then can't access jobkeeper. The employee can be made redundant if the employer chooses.

    A employee contract is a different legal issue. Seek legal advice. I would argue wrongful termination if a device is the fact in dispute. It won't be.. A FairWork dispute ?
     
  7. bunkai

    bunkai Well-Known Member

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    It would be a ******** nightmare to send out tablets so of course it is practical to use your own computer if you have one. Have you had the discussion with the employer and explained the situation ? Perhaps offering to pick one up?

    Plenty of windows laptops around and sub $500. Let alone secondhand. Pretty hard to write resumes etc without some sort of PC.
     
  8. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    For someone on $750 per week before tax, 400-$500 Is a huge chunk of money.

    I think the person should contact Fair Work Australia for some guidance.

    If laptops were provided before, they can surely be provided now.
     
  9. KateSydney

    KateSydney Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't try doing CATI interviewing on a tablet - too small a screen for the purpose, in my view.
    A laptop would probably work well but I can't see why the company won't provide it - seems unreasonable to me!
     
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