Paid Pandemic Leave – Aged Care Workers

Paid Pandemic Leave - Aged Care Workers

The Fair Work Commission made a decision on Monday, 27 July 2020 allowing paid ‘pandemic leave’ to staff working in residential aged care. The decision came into effect on Wednesday, 29 July 2020.

WHO

This leave would be available to employees who work in the aged care industry and are covered by:

  • the Aged Care Award 2010;
  • the Nurses Award 2010; and
  • the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010.

This includes full-time, part-time and eligible casual employees. To be an eligible casual employee, a casual needs to have been employed on a regular and systematic basis.

WHAT and WHEN

Employees are entitled to up to 2 weeks paid pandemic leave if they cannot work (including from home) because:

  • they are required to self-isolate or quarantine (including while waiting for a coronavirus test result);
  • they are showing symptoms of coronavirus and have been advised to self-isolate or quarantine;
  • they have come into contact with a person suspected of having contracted coronavirus; or
  • measures are taken in response to coronavirus (e.g. closing a facility).

HOW

Conditions on paid pandemic leave:

  • employees must be aged 17 or older and be likely to have worked during the self-isolation period;
  • employees need to have already been tested for coronavirus for each occasion of leave, or agree to be tested asap (if they don’t agree, they aren’t entitled to take the leave);
  • employees do not have to accrue the leave, it is available in full immediately;
  • employee’s can’t take paid pandemic leave if their situation means they’re entitled to take paid sick or carer’s leave instead;
  • employee’s can’t take the leave if they’re on workers compensation benefits because of contracting coronavirus; and
  • the leave needs to start prior to 29 October 2020 (but can finish after this date).

HOW MUCH

  • Full-time employees will be paid their base rate for their ordinary hours of work (the same as taking normal sick leave);
  • Part-time employees will be paid the higher of:
  • their agreed ordinary hours or work; or
  • an average of their weekly ordinary hours of work for the previous 6 weeks; and
  • Casual employees will be paid an amount based on an average of their weekly pay over the previous 6 weeks.

There are other conditions surrounding the taking of paid pandemic leave, including notice and evidence requirements.

If you believe you are eligible or are unsure and would like to find out, please contact Anderson Gray Lawyers on 1300 851 430.