State’s public service back in offices three days from next week

By Jackson Graham

November 17, 2021

Come one, come all.
Come one, come all. (Image: Adobe/ korkorkusung)

Fulltime Victorian public servants will be expected to work from offices three days a week once the state has 90% of eligible people vaccinated. 

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday the state could reach its 90% target for eligible people fully vaccinated this week, triggering further loosening of restrictions. 

Victoria’s Property Council has been pushing for the public servants to be back in Melbourne’s CBD as soon as health advice allows, describing the city as a “ghost town” for nearly two years. 

A Department of Premier and Cabinet spokesman told The Mandarin that once the 90% target was reached, it was “expected” VPS employees would “begin to return” using a flexible-work policy. 

“[There’s] a default starting position of three days a week for VPS employees to work in the office,” the spokesperson said. 

“As Victoria moves to a vaccinated economy, the Victorian Public Service’s return-to-office approach will continue to support the clear benefits and high productivity achieved through ongoing flexible working for all VPS employees.”

The government earlier in the year revised its flexible-work policy, which states managers must work with their employees and team on workable solutions, and staff should have a meaningful level of control over when, where and how they work. 

But the policy states flexible work should not reduce service delivery or impact the achievement of a team. 

VPS staff have been returning to offices if needed since October 29, but only if fully vaccinated and under the requirement they wear a mask. 

Property Council Victorian executive director Danni Hunter said the city needed the state government, City of Melbourne and business to work in partnership to “bring the CBD back to life”. 

The lobby group is also pushing for free public transport for three months once Victoria hits 90% vaccination, followed by the reintroduction of off-peak fares for travel across Melbourne. 

“We know Melbourne’s central city economy supports 500,000 jobs and produces about 7% of Australia’s GDP and 25% of Victoria’s GSP at its peak, so its revival is critical to Victoria’s economic recovery,” Hunter said.


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Vic government launches flexible work policy for public servants

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