18 min read

Work functions

Last updated April 2021

This chapter outlines your health and safety obligations in relation to work functions, and explains how to plan for a safe function under health and safety legislation in all jurisdictions.

What is a work function?

Definition: Work Function

A work function is any social activity that is organised for your workers.

Work functions can occur during or outside ordinary working hours, and tend to take place in a casual or relaxed environment.

Work functions include those functions that are:

  • organised and financed directly by your business, and planned in advance; and
  • informal or impromptu, and organised by workers or clients, with limited support or involvement of your business.

Common work functions include:

  • casual after-work dinner or drinks;
  • corporate retreat;
  • entertaining clients;
  • Christmas party;
  • sports day;
  • trivia night at a local pub;
  • wine-tasting function;
  • group activity, such as a cooking class;
  • paint ball or laser tag; or
  • a ski weekend.
Caution: You owe a duty of care to your workers and other guests at work functions, and your business will be liable for an injury that occurs at a work function. For this reason, you always need to identify whether a function your workers are attending is in fact a ‘work’ function.