A new policy will allow Victorian public servants who are working from home to receive funds for home office expenses.

Secretary of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet Chris Eccles says working-from-home policies in every department will be replaced with a new whole of Victorian government (WoVG) policy and new occupational health and safety (OH&S) advice.

“This is necessary because existing policies and OH&S procedures do not allow for current unprecedented circumstances with so many people working from home,” he wrote.

“The safety and wellbeing of staff is very important and regular advice and tips to support you will be provided in coming days and weeks.”

Staff working from home will receive $100 for home office expenses, with an extra $20 per week for home office consumables and utilities.

“The payment will be processed through payroll, but given the volume of payments required this may take some time so I ask you to please be patient,” Mr Eccles said.

“This prevents the need for making and processing expense claims. It is acknowledged that under conventional WFH policies people may have been able to claim back from departments more than $100 worth of expenses, but under current circumstances this arrangement is considered prudent.”

Additional expenses may be able to be claimed as a tax deduction.

“For items a staff member would like relocated but cannot be taken home safely (such as chairs or monitors on public transport), departments can provide them with a taxi voucher, or the cost of a taxi can be claimed back from the department at a later time,” Mr Eccles said.

“For staff who have specific items as a result of prior OH&S workplace assessments or a disability, arrangements can be made with the department to have those items transported to your home. Please discuss these matters with People and Culture.”

Further guidance on COVID-19 for VPS employers and employees is available on the Victorian government website.