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CBA pushes forward with return to office

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    Commonwealth Bank is moving forward with plans to get its employees back onsite, pushing for a maximum occupancy rate of 50% in its Sydney and Melbourne offices by the middle of this month.

    The bank plans to finalise the details of its return-to-work plan at a meeting of top executives later this week, according to a report by The Australian Financial Review. The bank planned a staggered return to work to begin as the holidays drew to a close, despite new COVID-19 outbreaks in both cities.

    “While we are anticipating our people will be able to return to our workplaces from mid-January, we are closely monitoring the situation and will adhere o guidance from the NSW and Victorian governments,” a spokeswoman for CBA told AFR.

    Read more: Big banks to NSW employees: Stay out of the office

    On Wednesday, the Victorian government threw a spanner into employers’ staffing plans by delaying its timetable for a return of workers to the Melbourne CBD by a week. Last week, Victoria reinstated compulsory masks for indoor environments, including offices.

    In NSW, a public health order requiring employers to allow their staff to work from home was lifted Dec. 14 – but some companies have discouraged their employees from returning to the worksite.

    Among those companies are banks including ANZ and Westpac. ANZ has asked all non-essential employees to work remotely until at least 11 January, with deputy chief executive Alexis George saying that only staff who “absolutely need” to work onsite should come to the bank’s Sydney offices.

    Westpac has also asked its head-office staff to work remotely “unless absolutely necessary.”

    Original Article