Latest Update on COVID-19

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There have been important updates to news concerning COVID-19 over the weekend and Workplace HQ takes this opportunity to provide you with additional information to that provided by WHQ partner, Osborn Law’s client alert issued on Friday. The Osborn Law original client alert can be found by clicking here.

Must Quarantine

Who MUST self quarantine?

  1. Anyone arriving in Australia from overseas will now be forced to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  2. Employees must self quarantine if they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of the virus.
  3. Employees must self quarantine if they have symptoms similar to the flu, including fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath.

Work from Home

Ideally, employees who have to self-quarantine will be able to work from home.

Must Quarantine (but not diagnosed with COVID-19)

Employees who must self-quarantine and who the business reasonably considers cannot work from home can utilise their paid leave or unpaid leave entitlements.

As the laws currently stand, employees who are forced to quarantine, but are not sick, do not have the automatic right to utilise their paid sick leave entitlements. To qualify for sick leave, the employee must actually be sick or must be looking after a family member or member of the employee’s household who is sick with COVID-19.

However, many of our clients are still allowing these employees to utilise their paid sick leave, to both ease the financial burden on their employees, and to avoid the scenario where people come to work that should be quarantined but where those people can’t financially afford to stay home on unpaid leave, and as such expose the workforce to unacceptable safety risks.   

Must Quarantine (and diagnosed with COVID-19)

  1. Full and part-time employees
  • Full and part-time employees who can’t come to work because they are sick with the virus can take paid sick leave.
  • If a full time or part-time  employee needs to look after a family member or member of the employee’s household who is sick with coronavirus, or suffering an unexpected emergency, they are entitled to take paid carer’s leave.
  • Full and part-time employees can take unpaid carer’s leave if they have no paid sick or carer’s leave left.

2. Casual Employees

  • Casual employees are entitled to take unpaid leave if they are sick or need to look after a family member or member of the employee’s household who is sick with COVID-19, or suffering an unexpected emergency.

Policy

Whatever decisions your business makes regarding COVID-19, it should be clearly documented in a policy so that employees know exactly what to expect. Osborn Law can assist you in preparing a policy for your workplace.

Policies should be regularly updated by employers after reference to: 

  1. Smart Traveller
  2. The Department of Health
  3. Safe Work Australia

Workplace HQ Partners

It is business as usual at Workplace HQ partners – Osborn Law, peoplefusion and Skildare and you will continue to receive our full service. We are abiding by the above recommendations with our own teams and should the need arise, we have ensured our software in place allows us to work remotely. 

If you have any questions regarding any of the information above or would like to discuss anything further please don’t hesitate to contact our team on (02) 4927 2900. Please feel free to forward this article and links to your clients and friends of your business.

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