Fair Work Commission Upholds Bendigo Bank's Return to Office Policy

Bendigo Bank wins remote work case, highlighting ongoing debate over in-person vs. remote work and the need for clear policies as businesses navigate the shift to hybrid arrangements.

Salman Akhtar
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Fair Work Commission Upholds Bendigo Bank's Return to Office Policy

Fair Work Commission Upholds Bendigo Bank's Return to Office Policy

The Fair Work Commission has ruled in favor of Bendigo Bank's decision to require employees to return to the office for two days a week, rejecting a credit assessor's request to work from home permanently to care for his child and injured wife. The commission found that the bank's policy was reasonable, as it fostered deeper connections, brainstorming, and spontaneous collaboration among employees.

Shane Gration, the credit assessor who brought the case, had sought to continue working remotely full-time to care for his family. However, the commission determined that Gration's evidence regarding his wife's injury and need for care was "inconsistent, largely uncorroborated and overall unconvincing." It also noted that his "primary focus was seeking to avoid a return to the workplace."

While acknowledging Gration's responsibility to care for his child, the commission accepted Bendigo Bank's response of allowing him to use carers leave or work from home on certain days as appropriate. The ruling emphasized the importance of in-person collaboration and networking in the workplace.

Why this matters: This decision comes at a time when remote work is transforming the way businesses operate, with most office workers now spending some time working from home. The ruling highlights the ongoing debate around the balance between remote and in-person work, and the need for employers to establish clear policies and accountability measures to manage this transition effectively.

The Fair Work Commission's decision to uphold Bendigo Bank's return to office policy sets a precedent for other employers managing the shift to hybrid work arrangements. As noted by human resources managers, the ruling also underscores the potential tensions between those who can work remotely and those who cannot, emphasizing the importance of fair and consistent policies across an organization.

Key Takeaways

  • Fair Work Commission ruled in favor of Bendigo Bank's 2-day office return policy.
  • Bank's policy deemed reasonable for fostering collaboration and connections.
  • Credit assessor's request for permanent remote work rejected due to unconvincing evidence.
  • Ruling emphasizes importance of in-person work and sets precedent for hybrid policies.
  • Decision highlights tensions between remote and in-person work arrangements.