Working at home

88. Working at home


It is recognised that, in various situations, working at home arrangements may be suitable to both the employee and the ATO.

Working at home may be suitable for employees engaged in field work where there are benefits for productivity and the employee's lifestyle.

Sub-clauses 88.5 to 88.15 do not apply to the ad-hoc working at home arrangements set out at sub-clause 88.16.




An employee may be given approval to work at home.



Any arrangement is subject to ATO operational requirements continuing to be met.



Consideration of operational requirements will include an assessment of the effect the proposal will have on individual workloads and the team as a whole.


Written agreement


Prior to the commencement of any arrangement, agreement in writing is to be reached on:

a. the provision and maintenance of equipment;

b. security and occupational health and safety requirements;

c. ongoing communication and contact with other team members;

d. arrangements for access by management to the home site;

e. approximate amounts of time to be spent at home and the office;

f. the method of recording working time and of measuring work performance; and

g. access to training and development opportunities.


Establishment Costs


Approval can be given for the ATO to meet all or part of the cost of establishing a working at home arrangement, up to a maximum of $3270 (and $3335 from 21 June 2012, $3368 from 3 January 2013, and $3435 from 20 June 2013). This expenditure could be in addition to the ATO agreeing to provide standard furniture items on a loan basis for the duration of the arrangement. Where practicable, any items purchased under this arrangement would remain the property of the ATO.


Variation of arrangements


The manager and employee may vary the arrangements for working at home at any time by mutual agreement.


Termination of arrangements


Working at home arrangements may be terminated by mutual agreement or by either the manager or the employee giving four weeks notice because of:

a. changing operational requirements; and/or

b. the inefficiency and/or ineffectiveness of the arrangement.


In addition, working at home arrangements may be terminated without notice if the employee fails to comply with the agreed arrangements for home based work.



In the event of a serious work performance issue or a suspected breach of the APS Code of Conduct, the manager may suspend the working at home arrangement while the work performance review or investigation of the suspected breach is being undertaken and should give the employee as much notice as is reasonable under the circumstances.


Short term suspension


Without limiting the operation of sub-clause 88.8, working at home arrangements may be suspended on a short-term basis due to operational requirements, such as the need to deploy employees to priority functions. If this is necessary, the following conditions will apply:

a. the ATO will give the employee a minimum of one week's notice (and where it can, as much notice as possible) of the suspension of arrangements (this notice may be less if the employee agrees);

b. the ATO in reaching a decision on suspension will take account of any hardship the employee might have;

c. such suspension will not exceed eight weeks, unless a longer period is agreed with the employee; and

d. at the end of the suspension, the previous working at home arrangements will be reinstated.


Conditions of employment


An employee working at home is covered by the same employment conditions as an employee working at an office site. This includes access to conditions in this Agreement associated with 'field work' as defined in clause 44.1.



An employee working at home may access leave on the same basis as other employees.



Working at home should not be approved as a substitute for regular caring arrangements.



If an employee is on a graduated return to work program, the case manager must be consulted prior to any working at home arrangement being approved.


Ad Hoc arrangements


Approval for ad hoc periods of working at home may be given for short periods on a case by case basis.



Approval may be given for employees to work at home while they are suffering from a minor illness or injury, or have responsibility for another person who needs minor care, but not if it is more appropriate for the employee to use Personal Leave.



Arrangements are not to be approved if there are any significant occupational health and safety or security risks or if the cost to the ATO will be anything but incidental.



The arrangement may be terminated at any time by the manager, but the employee should be given as much notice as practicable.



Approval may be given to vary the arrangement rather than terminate it.




Apart from situations covered by sub-clause 44.2 ('sign-on/sign-off' timekeeping arrangements for field work), an employee's office (not their home) is deemed to be the employees usual base for purposes of calculating allowances based on travel requirements.

    Last modified: 02 Dec 2011QC 24167