NSW Working from home during covid19

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Kristian

Active Member
5 March 2015
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I work in an office and obviously it's being suggested that we work from home during a current covid-19 crisis. My problem is is that I don't have my own personal computer. I've been relying on tablets and my mobile phone for my internet access whilst at home.

Is the employer required to provide a desktop or laptop in this situation? It's a big purchase for myself which is completely unexpected and I'm not sure where to go from here.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
28 April 2014
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Sydney
The question at the bottom of this is usually something like
"My employer wants me to work from home during the Corona thing.
Can my boss require me to buy an expensive, high-spec computer to work from?"

The short and literal answer is "no, but...".

The longer and more complex answer is...

It's not clear cut (yet).
Generally, if an employer directs you/ requires you/ encourages you to work from home,
(that is, if it's their idea, or direction, not yours) then it's basically on them to provide you with
whatever you need to do your work to a standard as close as can be to "normal".
This could cost employers a lot of money. Perhaps, money they don't have.

So, you can expect to get some employers trying to "cop out" of the cost of providing WFH gear.
Examples of where an employer might try to dodge their obligations include...
  • where you already BYOD because that's existing practice, or
  • where they already have some sort of "you don't have to be in the office five days a week" arrangement; or
  • where you already have (and they know you have) adequate gear, and you've used it for work before; or
  • where the (only genuine) alternative is to stand you down unpaid, until the worst is over.
It's important to know that none of the above creates a duty on you to buy a device of any kind.

Ihaven't heard the ATO say it yet, but I'm quiet confident that come tax time,
gear supplied to WFH/ Cornona self-isolators will be both FBT exempt (if it's not already),
and/or be an allowable deduction if bought by the worker.

The latter's great - if you can afford to buy.
But... not everybody can actually afford to buy, for home, the high-spec gear (hardware and software alike)
that they might use at work. Let alone things like computer controlled machinery.
And there's the start of what might be a bigger, more complex problem.
 

miguel

Well-Known Member
30 May 2018
87
8
314
A reasonable work around is to take the computer from the office home. - IT people are in demand at the moment, but they can be sourced from Facebook. Expect to pay circa $100 per hour.