Practical Law Australia's Employment team has published a new Help and information note: Christmas in the time of COVID-19, designed to assist your organisation prepare for the 2020 office Christmas party. It provides an overview of current government restrictions for gatherings in public spaces, and what this will mean for your Christmas function. Read an excerpt here, or the full note on Practical Law Australia.
No matter what your version of a Christmas party normally looks like: be it working an overcrowded room and mingling with colleagues, hitting up the dance floor, squeezing onto a table for lunch in a fancy restaurant or enjoying an outdoor group activity, the reality is that Christmas parties just won't look like Christmas parties this year (of course, given the horror that has been 2020, we totally get that employees may be keener than usual to see the event go ahead).
The arrival of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has been accompanied by recommendations to social distance from others, and government-imposed restrictions on gatherings, the operations of business premises and travel. This seismic shift in the way we interact with our fellow workers has been managed quite effectively by many organisations who have staggered start times, changed office configurations and transitioned employees to working from home. In fact, some states have even imposed public health orders directing an employer to allow an employee to work from their home where it is reasonably practicable to do so (for further information see Practice note, Q&A: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and employment law: Am I entitled to require my employee to work from home?).
A number of employers and employees have actually benefited from the flexibility these new arrangements have presented, but with Christmas around the corner it is time to reflect on the impact restrictions will have in an environment that is the antithesis of social distancing … the office Christmas party.
Read more by accessing Practical Law Australia, and while you're there, check out some of the other Employment resources relating to Jobkeeper, COVID-19 and Employment Law, or our full suite of Coronavirus-related resources.