Working from home could become a legal right


Working from home could become a legal right, the ramifications of rising credit card debt, and Gen Z women are more stressed than men about money.

Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Working from home  

am i legally entitled to work from home australia

A month after new laws allowed workers to disconnect from texts and emails after work, the Fair Work Commission is reviewing whether employees should be legally entitled to flexible work arrangements.

The review will make recommendations to the federal government, which may then action changes in legislation.

Melbourne Institute research found the majority of workers want the right to work from home at least some of the time (60% would be happy with a hybrid arrangement).

Although studies have found that working from home makes no difference to productivity, employers say remote working makes it harder for them to provide mentoring or for workers to spontaneously collaborate.

Quitting your job? 

Non-compete, no-poach and post-employment restraint clauses in employment contracts are more common than ever, making it harder to jump ship for a better salary in the same industry.

Research from e61 Institute found one in five Australian workers are subject to a non-compete clause, and one in three are subject to a clause that restricts their ability to poach former clients.

The use of non-competes and other restraint clauses is particularly prevalent in knowledge-based service industries where high-skilled labour is a key determinant of firm success.

e61 Institute CEO Michael Brennan says many firms appear to be deploying restraint clauses indiscriminately. In firms that use non-competes and no-poach clauses, almost 80% are applying them to more than three-quarters of their workforce.

The widespread use of post-employment restraints, meanwhile, could be hurting job mobility and competition. e61 found that job mobility and firm entry rates were lower in industries with a higher prevalence of employment restraints.

Sofa returned after two years 

Buyer's remorse is real but when a shop has a lenient returns policy, changing your mind isn't a big deal.

US retail giant Costco's shame-free returns policy went viral on a recent TikTok video when a woman returned a sofa to Costo after using it for two years simply because she didn't like it anymore.

"We just don't like the colour anymore," Jackie Nguyen told the Costco cashier.

Nguyen no longer had the receipt but she did remember the date she bought it so Costco issued a full refund.

Credit card debt on the rise 

A growing number of people are falling behind on their credit card payments, triggering not just late fees and interest charges, but also the possibility of credit score damage.

Australians are currently using 13 million credit cards, on which they owe $18.1 billion.

Any missed repayments are recorded as a black mark on their credit file after 14 days, which could make it harder to secure a personal loan, credit card or mortgage down the track - or mean they pay a higher interest rate.

One in eight Aussie credit card holders, or almost 1.8 million people, missed a repayment last month, according to Finder.

Young women have more financial stress, less in savings

Gen Z women are more stressed than Gen Z men about money, and are less likely to have personal savings, according to new research by ASIC's Moneysmart.

Gen Z women (born between 1997 and 2012) are more likely than men to be severely stressed about the cost of living (87% to 77%) and to feel overwhelmed by finances (57% to 41%).

Young women are less likely to have any savings and tend to rely more on buy-now-pay-later services than men, and fewer women than men research ways to grow their wealth.

"Moneysmart's findings are in line with research coming out of organisations such as the OECD, which shows that women are less confident and knowledgeable with money than their male peers," says ASIC's Amanda Zeller.

"It's an issue we need to tackle, because the emerging picture is bleak: the financial decisions young women make today will compound across their lifetimes."

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Joanna Tovia is a senior journalist at Money magazine. She is the former personal finance editor of The Daily Telegraph and author of Eco-Wise & Wealthy, a book about saving money by going green at home. She has worked as a journalist in the US, UK and Australia writing about money, travel, design and wellbeing. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Sean B
February 25, 2024 2.03pm

They need to consider the consequences of these work from home laws. If a companies workforce is forced becomes remote some employers will ask why employee Australians if the same remote talent is available for cheaper overseas. For many Australian companies having employees in the office is the one differentiating factor.