There have been some further important updates to news concerning COVID-19 over the weekend and we take this opportunity to provide you with additional information to that provided in our client alert on Friday. Our original client alert can be found by clicking here.
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.
- 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.
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:
It is business as usual at Osborn Law and you will continue to receive our full service. We are abiding by the above recommendations with our own team and should the need arise, we have ensured our software in place at OL allows us to all work remotely, with many of us already working from home on a weekly basis as part of our flexible working arrangements.
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.