The Finance Sector Union (FSU) has written to more than 50 banks, insurance companies and superannuation funds calling for more choice about returning to the office, as a new highly transmissible Omicron strain spreads across Australia.
A survey of Finance Sector Union members revealed the overwhelming majority were worried about contracting COVID-19 as they returned to working in the office and were nervous about spreading the virus to loved ones.
The report, “Working From Home: It’s Done Wonders,” found 69% of workers believed there was an increased risk of catching COVID-19 when returning to the office and 60% were concerned about the mental health impact of being forced back to the office.
A majority of staff – 57% of respondents – expressed concern at the potential disruption any forced return to the office could cause to vital caring responsibilities.
The impact of commuting was also a concern for 75% of staff who said working from home had saved them time and money by not having to spend hours each day travelling to and from work.
Finance Sector Union national secretary, Julia Angrisano, said employers should be implementing fair and flexible work which should include the option of fully remote working where possible.
“This is a health and safety issue. Workers should not be forced back to the office when they have real fears about their safety and the safety of their families,” Angrisano said.
“Finance sector workers are telling us that the option to work from home is very important to them. It enables them to spend more time with their family, save money by not commuting and most importantly, protect themselves from contracting COVID-19 at work.”
“Employers claim to offer flexibility, but in reality workers are being told that they must attend the office. Having endured the enormous pressures of working through the pandemic staff deserve better.”