A-Z Policy Directory

COVID-19 Working Remotely Policy

Policy

DOCUMENT DETAILS

Document Owner Human Resource Services
Approval Date 9 July 2021
Release Date 12 July 2021
Compliance Date 12 July 2021
Review Date 1 March 2022

introduction and context

INTRODUCTION

Policy in Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) is developed to support the implementation of consistent and comprehensive practices to guide quality Catholic learning and teaching in systemic schools in the Diocese of Wollongong.

Policy is developed within the context of documents and frameworks. These include:

CONTEXT

Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) recognises that the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone in the workplace is central to the mission and success of our schools and offices.

This Policy has been developed to outline the process of working remotely and where applicable leave arrangements in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic or other public health related concern.  The purpose of the Policy is to minimise, as far as reasonably practicable, risks associated with undertaking work remotely and to comply with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW).
  

EXPECTATIONS

It is expected that CEDoW workers will take all reasonable measures to comply with this Policy.

The CEDoW Covid-19 Working Remotely Policy must be implemented in conjunction with the following policies where relevant: 

The overarching principle for working remotely is where the current duties undertaken by workers, are able to be performed in another location (or reasonably equivalent, alternative duties can be provided for this purpose).  The inherent requirements of certain roles are therefore not suitable for working from home. 

There is no situation where a worker will be permitted to work remotely AND be on any type of leave at the same time (this includes ex-gratia leave). There is no situation where a worker will be permitted to work remotely while also acting as a primary carer for an ill family member (e.g., for a child or elderly relative).

A worker may be working on-site (e.g., in a school or CEDoW office) or working remotely (as approved by Principal/Supervisor). 

When on leave (e.g., due to illness or medical direction, acting as a primary carer, on long service leave, or have been granted ex-gratia leave) workers WILL NOT be required to undertake ANY work.

CATHOLIC EDUCATION OFFICE RESPONSIBILITIES:

The Catholic Education Office (CEO) will:

  • support workers to provide the best possible remote opportunities to enable continuity of learning and continuity of business
  • support workers to be safe in their workplaces either on site or when working remotely
  • pay workers that are approved to work remotely as if they were working at their usual place of work
  • maintain workers compensation arrangements for those working remotely whilst undertaking duties
  • provide support for ICT issues as per usual school and office processes
  • continue to provide a range of corporate and educational services

NOTE: This Policy is subject to change at short notice as a result of Public Health Orders and NSW Premier's Office advice.

1   WORKING REMOTELY

PRINCIPALS/supervisors MUST:
1.1

follow directives from the Catholic Education Office regarding the implementation of self-isolation requirements based on Public Health Orders and communicate these directives to any workers impacted by the orders

       
WORKERS MUST:
1.2

work remotely where a Public Health Order directs they self-isolate including where:

  1.2.1 they have been tested for COVID-19 and have not received the result   
  1.2.2  they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and are not medically incapacitated, until such time as they have recovered and have received a negative test result
  1.2.3 it is suspected that they have COVID-19, but only where they are not incapacitated as a result
  1.2.4 they are deemed a close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, and where they must isolate for 14 days regardless of the test result and follow any other direction included in the Public Health Order
  1.2.5 they have visited a case location
  1.2.6 they are a household member of a close contact who has not received their COVID-19 test result
  1.2.7 they have returned from overseas and are exempt from hotel quarantine, until such time they have completed the self-isolation period and/or received a negative test result, which ever satisfies NSW Health
  1.2.8 otherwise as directed by the Catholic Education Office
1.3 be aware they may also work remotely where:
  1.3.1 they need to care for their school-aged child/children engaged in remote learning
  1.3.2 they have a pre-existing medical condition that makes them medically vulnerable and unable to attend the worksite and being aware evidence will be required
  1.3.3 a Public Health Order requires workers to work remotely where practicable to do so
  1.3.4 otherwise as directed by the Catholic Education Office
       

2   SERVICE PROVISION RESPONSIBILITIES

PRINCIPALS/SUPERVISORS MUST:
2.1

identify roles that are suitable for remote work, based on the needs of the workplace being able to deliver a satisfactory level of service provision to students and families

2.2 consider whether any other suitable tasks may be performed outside the scope of the worker’s usual role and responsibilities, if applicable, including professional development and training
2.3

consider whether a worker has the resources and technology to undertake work remotely (e.g., has been issued a laptop, can be contacted by phone, has a sufficient internet connection for the work required)

2.4 direct and monitor the work of those working remotely
2.5 provide direction about daily check-ins, remote meeting times and other accountabilities that are required according to the Learning Continuity plans created at their schools or Business Continuity plans in the offices
        
WORKERS MUST:
2.6

follow procedures about how work is performed and perform their duties remotely to the best of their abilities and in a focused way that meets equivalent work volumes and deadlines

2.7

keep equipment in good working order and use any equipment issued to them as per instructions

2.8 maintain a safe work environment
2.9 manage their own in-home safety
2.10 report changes that may affect their health and safety when working remotely
2.11 have access to the internet or hotspot data and are advised against accessing publicly available WiFi
2.12 advise their Principal/Supervisor as soon as possible if they experience technical issues while working remotely and contact the ICLT Helpline on 1800 DOWHELP (1800 369 4357) or help@dow.catholic.edu.au
2.13 provide professional instruction to students online, where relevant, using the preferred platform of their school, e.g., Google Classrooms, Zoom, etc. or other means of pedagogical delivery directed by the school
2.14 remotely interact with students and families, where relevant according to the advice provided by the Principal/Supervisor
2.15 engage in planning future lessons, marking assessments, providing feedback to students, and collaborating with colleagues, where relevant
2.16 work the regular number of hours according to their current employment contract, being aware that it can be undertaken in a more flexible manner providing workers are available for collaboration with colleagues or engagement with students at scheduled times
2.17 follow the school or office procedures if they are unable to work due to illness or personal care responsibilities
2.18 comply with all existing safeguarding requirements including, but not limited to:
  2.18.1 CEDoW Code of Conduct in the Protection of Children and Young People
  2.18.2 CEDoW Maintaining Right Relationships Policy
  2.18.3 CEDoW Staff Responsible Use of Technology Policy
  2.18.4 CEDoW Social Media Policy
2.19 be mindful of interacting with students on a digital platform including the appropriateness of any background images and the need for a quiet environment that is conducive to delivering the education service, where relevant
2.20 maintain appropriate professional boundaries with students at all times
2.21 actively model the appropriate tone necessary to consistently maintain a safe, supportive and respectful environment
2.22 adhere to the CEDoW Case Collaboration Referral Procedure  to support the learning and wellbeing of students
2.23 report child protection concerns to the CEDoW Child Safety and Professional Services Team at childprotection@dow.catholic.edu.au
2.24 dress professionally when engaging with students and colleagues remotely
2.25 remind students of their obligation to dress appropriately where relevant
2.26 record their work location via the COVID-19 My Workplace on the CEDoW Staff Gateway in advance and update it any day when the location changes
2.27 undertake their usual volume of self-directed planning during pupil vacation periods, where relevant, and be aware there is no obligation to interact with students, parents, or colleagues during the pupil vacation period
2.28 monitor their emails from Catholic Education Office or school for up-to-date information
2.29 complete the 2021 CEDoW Working Remotely Checklist  prior to working remotely
       

3   WORKING remotely RESPONSIBILITIES

PRINCIPALS/SUPERVISORS MUST:
3.1

advise workers that all other policies and procedures continue to apply when they are working remotely

3.2 advise workers that all other contractual obligations continue to apply when they are working remotely
       
Workers must:
3.3

be readily available during agreed working hours, at a minimum being available by phone and email during core hours unless otherwise approved by their Principal/Supervisor

3.4 maintain the confidentiality and security of records, including personal information
3.5 adhere to the CEDoW Notifiable Data Breach Procedure  as soon as possible if records or resources belonging to CEDoW are lost or accessed without authority
3.6 comply with all policies and procedures as they would if they were not working remotely and be aware that all contractual obligations continue to apply
       

4   EX-GRATIA LEAVE

PRINCIPALS/SUPERVISORS MUST:
4.1       

advise all workers of their Ex-gratia Leave Entitlements  in circumstances where a school/office falls under Public Health Orders, following the directive of Catholic Education Office

4.2 

contact CEDoW Human Resource Services to confirm that a casual worker is eligible for ex-gratia leave

       
WORKERS MUST:
4.3 

apply for ex-gratia leave according to school protocols via Employee Self Service (ESS)

4.4       

access any other accrued leave entitlements where the provision of ex-gratia leave has been exhausted and they are unable to work remotely and remain away from the school or office

       

5   OTHER LEAVE OPTIONS

WORKERS MUST:
5.1            

inform their Principal/Supervisor if their medical practitioner has directed them to remain at home due to a medical condition directly related to COVID-19 and provide a medical certificate

5.2

inform their Principal/Supervisor if their medical practitioner has directed them to remain at home to care for a vulnerable member of their household impacted by COVID-19 and provide a medical certificate

5.3

apply for leave via Employee Self Service (ESS) when remote working is not viable, in the following manner:

  5.3.1 personal/carers leave (with a doctor’s certificate)
  5.3.2 then annual leave (where applicable)
  5.3.3 then long service leave
5.4 remain in contact with their Principal/Supervisor with regards to the timeframe of their return to the school or office
        

6   vulnerable workers

PRINCIPALS/SUPERVISORS MUST:
6.1     

direct and monitor the work of any Vulnerable Worker  who is working remotely

6.2

keep a record of the dates that remote working occurs for the pregnant worker

6.3 discuss with CEDoW Human Resource Services, any application from vulnerable workers for support for those who have exhausted their paid leave entitlements
        
VULNERABLE WORKERS MUST:
6.4      

discuss, with their Principal/Supervisor, any identified health concerns which make them a Vulnerable Worker  that place them at greater risk from COVID-19

6.5

provide medical evidence from a medical practitioner they are able to work

6.6

apply for leave via Employee Self Service (ESS) when remote working is not viable, in the following manner:

  6.6.1 personal/carers leave (with a doctor’s certificate)
  6.6.2

then annual leave (where applicable)

  6.6.3

then long service leave

6.7

contact their Principal/Supervisor in situations where they have exhausted their paid leave and require assistance on compassionate grounds to access support

        

7   PREGNANT WORKERS

PRINCIPALS/SUPERVISORS MUST:
7.1     

direct and monitor the work of any pregnant worker who is working remotely

7.2

keep a record of the dates that remote working occurs for the vulnerable worker

7.3 discuss with CEDoW Human Resource Services, any application from pregnant workers for support for those who have exhausted their paid leave entitlements
        
PREGNANT WORKERS MUST:
7.4      

discuss, with their Principal/Supervisor, any identified health concerns which place them at greater risk from COVID-19 with their Principal/Supervisor

7.5

provide medical evidence from a medical practitioner that they are able to work

7.6

apply for leave via Employee Self Service (ESS) when remote working is not viable, in the following manner:

            7.6.1 personal/carers leave (with a doctor’s certificate)
  7.6.2

then annual leave (where applicable)

  7.6.3

then long service leave

7.7.        

contact their Principal/Supervisor in situations where they have exhausted their paid leave and require assistance on compassionate grounds to access support

        

8   travelling to a covid-19 case location or overseas

WORKERS MUST:
8.1     

 follow the Public Health Orders in relation to isolation when they choose to travel to a COVID-19 hotspot or overseas

8.2

notify their Principal/Supervisor as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made to cover their absence

8.3

discuss the option of working remotely with their Principal/Supervisor in collaboration with the CEDoW Head of Human Resource Services

8.4

use their own leave accrual or access leave without pay for the period of isolation

        

Procedure

 

There are no CEDoW Procedures for this Policy

 

Implementation

COVID-19 WORKING REMOTELY policy IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

POLICY RELEASE

  • The COVID-19 Working Remotely Policy was released in draft form to schools in 2020 (following the impact of Public Health Orders to regular school operations).
  • The Policy is now released but is subject to change at any time due to further Public Health Orders or decisions by the NSW Premier's Office.

POLICY IMPLEMENTATION

  • Schools are expected to have full implementation of the COVID-19 Working Remotely Policy from 12 July 2021.
  • Any school that determines they are not able to implement all Expectations at any time must contact the Senior Professional Officer: Education Policy.
  • Schools’ compliance to the Policy expectations occurs through the CEDoW Compliance processes.
  • Additional compliance processes may be utilised if concerns are raised about the working remotely practices at the School or Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) level.

POLICY MONITORING

  • Personnel in Human Resource Services are responsible for providing advice to the Senior Professional Officer: Education Policy of any changes to compliance requirements.  
  • A formal evaluation process of the COVID-19 Working Remotely Policy will be conducted in March 2022.

POLICY PUBLICATION

  • The COVID-19working Remotely Policy is published on the CEDoW website on the Policy Directory.  The Senior Professional Officer: Education Policy will be responsible for ensuring the Policy’s version currency and accuracy.
  • Schools should contact the Senior Professional Officer: Education Policy for any clarifications regarding Policy.
  • Schools should contact Human Resource Services for support in the implementation of any aspects of the Policy.

Legislation

Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth)
https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2018C00293

 

Related Links

 

 

Support material

POLICY SELF-ASSESSMENT

The COVID-19 Working Remotely Policy Self-Assessment is provided to support schools in their implementation of all Policy expectations.
Download the Self-Assessment here [Download as a Word doc, or complete the self-assessment in Google doc format by selecting 'Open with Google Docs' then going to File > Make a Copy]