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Depending how the COVID-19 virus has impacted your workplace, there are various leave options and government financial support that should be explored, and in some cases are required to be provided to employees.
Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act), paid personal leave is available to all employees (other than casuals):
Employees are entitled to 10 days paid personal leave for each year of service.
Under the Modern Awards, until 30 June, 2 weeks of unpaid pandemic leave is available to all employees if:
The leave must start before 30 June 2022 but can finish after this date.
The unpaid pandemic leave:
To access this leave, employees must advise their employer of their intention to take this leave and the reason why. This should be done as soon as possible, however does not need to occur before the leave has started.
The following scenarios provides some general guidance in relation to an employee’s leave options and whether the leave should be of paid or unpaid, in accordance with the Modern Awards and the FW Act.
|Scenario||Type of leave|
|Employee is sick||
|Employee is not sick but must care for an immediate family member, or a member of their household (this includes care responsibilities where schools may close)||
|Employee does not want to come to work due to risk of infection||
|Employee is not sick however is under mandatory quarantine or stuck overseas (e.g.- close contact with suspected case and is undergoing testing, or has recently taken an overseas trip)||
|Employee is not sick but is required by the employer to stay away from the workplace (e.g.- precautionary measures decided by employer)||
|Employer is required to temporarily close a workplace or a construction site due to:
||Explore options to work remotely or from home;
An employee can only be stood down without pay if they cannot do useful work in limited circumstances such as a stoppage of work for which you can’t be held responsible (e.g.- severe and inclement weather or natural disasters).
Enterprise agreements and employment contracts may have different rules about when you can stand down an employee without pay. Therefore employers need to check these agreements and contracts to determine if any alternative scenarios may apply.
Further information regarding stand down.
|Employer is contemplating redundancy due to impacts of COVID-19||
Employees can apply for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment through Services Australia if they have suffered a loss of income due to having to self-isolate or quarantine because of COVID-19.
From 18 January the Pandemic Leave Disaster payment will be determined based on the number of hours work the employee has lost or expects to lose during an isolation period of up to seven days:
In order to be eligible, an employee must be required to self-isolate or quarantine for one of the following reasons:
The employee must also:
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