Work, Health and Safety in a COVID-19 Environment

Protecting and securing improvements to our workplace rights

Banking and other financial services play critical roles in our economy and society. Bank staff have been declared essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been performing a variety of roles throughout the pandemic.

As finance industry workers continue to provide essential services to customers and local communities, we have seen our working lives transformed. Since the beginning of the pandemic the FSU has been focused on ensuring the health, safety and job security of our members across the industry.

As we work through the challenges that COVID-19 presents, your views are critical to our campaign success. If you haven’t joined the campaign sign up here and take a few minutes to complete our current survey. Make your voice heard on things such as workplace health and safety, work from home, physical/social distancing, and mental health.

Workplace Health and Safety

None of the Workplace Health and Safety regulations have been written to contemplate a global pandemic. Since early March it was apparent that we need stronger, nationally consistent, regulations to protect workers’ health and safety.

Together with FSU members and the broader union movement, we have joined forces to campaign for improvements to ensure your health and safety at work is front and centre of employers’ and government’s considerations.

Together with thousands of your fellow FSU members we worked to secure commitments from employers across the finance industry. So far, we have been able to secure the following policy improvements:

  • Access to special paid leave (pandemic leave) for employees, including casuals;
  • Provision of PPE equipment including hand sanitiser, gloves, and plexiglass screens;
  • Social/physical distancing measures;
  • Suspension of targets;
  • Suspension of restructures and permanent branch closures; and
  • Work from home allowances.

The risk of a second wave or future pandemics means we need to continue to campaign for changes and advocate for improvements we have achieved so far be legally secured in legislation, regulations, and enterprise agreement provisions.

Work From Home (WFH)

The response to COVID-19 has required strict restrictions for all of us, not just in how we interact within our family and community but also in our working lives.  This has resulted in large numbers of employees transitioning to working from home on a semi-permanent basis.

Work from home arrangements vary depending on employer arrangements, type of role and work to be carried out. As restrictions are eased employers are making plans for the physical return of employees. Workplaces will need to look different; they will also feel different. Measures to mitigate the risk of a second wave and ensure the health and safety of employees will need to be put in place.

We anticipate that, due to safety measures to ensure the health and safety of staff, there will be reduced numbers of staff who transition back into workplaces. Workers have also indicated a desire to continue exploring options for working from home.

An industry wide approach to work from home arrangements is urgently required. A set of guidelines or policy needs to be developed that safeguards you and your colleagues working conditions. They should include things such as:

  • Privacy;
  • Health and safety;
  • The right to disconnect – limit hours of work so workers are not working unreasonable or large amounts of unpaid hours;
  • Work from home allowance to ensure workers are not worse off; and
  • Communication and support measures.


The FSU have developed a range of fact sheets and Frequently Asked Questions. If you would like more information on how to keep yourself, your co-workers and your workplace safe, complete this registration form so we can send you copies of fact sheets you have requested.

COVID+Aware: more information

I would like more information on staying safe at home and at work in COVID-19