Bosses who force their employees to come into the office will be slammed with $10,000 on-the-spot fines as New South Wales races to stop the spread of the deadly Delta variant.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the new penalties on Saturday morning, in tandem with a suite of tougher restrictions targeting the COVID-19 spread in south western Sydney.
“There will be harsher penalties for any employer who forces their employee to come into the office,” Berejiklian said.
“We've said that employees - anyone who works in an office environment - should be working from home, but if your boss forces you to come into work in an office environment, your boss could be given an on-the-spot fine of $10,000.
“We don't want employees being forced into the office. We've said that all people who can work from home should be working from home and if you feel you are being forced to go into the office, your employer will be given that harsher penalty.”
The fines will come into place as of Wednesday, and apply to all businesses in the Greater Sydney and surrounds lockdown region.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said employers must immediately review everyone that they have requested come into the office and ask them to work remotely.
111 new cases, tough new restrictions for south west Sydney, retail
The fines come as the state records 111 new cases of community transmission, with workers in the Canterbury Bankstown and Fairfield local government areas now required to remain in their areas until 30 July.
The new rule applies to all workers bar those in emergency services and healthcare.
“We don't want anyone in those three local government areas working outside those local government areas,” Berejiklian said.
“Now, we please ask for all businesses across the Sydney metropolitan area and beyond to consider rostering arrangements over the weekend, to consider what they can do to mitigate the impact on their business.
“But it is so important for us not to have that concentration of cases spill out into the Greater Sydney community.”
Additionally, all non-critical retail in the Greater Sydney and surrounds lockdown territory is to cease face-to-face sales and must use only ‘click and collect’, takeaway and home delivery options.
Supermarkets, liquor and grocery stores, pharmacies, chemists and stores that predominantly sell health supplies, petrol stations and post offices and news agents may remain open.
Additionally, banks and financial institutions, pet supply stores, hardware stores and nurseries and office supply stores may remain open.
All construction in the lockdown regions not deemed essential must also stop until 30 July.
“I know these decisions aren't easy, I know a lot of people will be upset, but as we speak, we are reaching out to community leaders, to business leaders, to make sure that we consult and discuss these decisions, but also make sure we make the decision, transition as quickly as we can,” Berejiklian said.
“We are also calling on people for their common sense.”