GOING TO WORK DURING COVID-19 – EMPLOYEES WANTING TO STAY HOME AS A PRECAUTION
We have been advised by Employers that some of their Employees are concerned about going to work due to the potential risk of catching COVID-19.
We recommend you read the Fair Work Ombudsman advice in full (refer link below) regarding Employees who want to stay home as a precaution, which states in part:
Employees who haven’t been directed to stay home by either their Employer, or because of an enforceable government direction will need come to an arrangement with their Employer. This could include requesting to work from home (if this is a safe and practical option) or taking some form of Leave, such as Annual Leave or Long Service Leave.
Normal Leave application processes still apply. If an Employee doesn’t come to an arrangement to work from home with their Employer, or doesn’t use Paid Leave, then they aren’t entitled to be paid for choosing not to work.
COVID-19 Safe Plan
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Businesses must manage the risks of COVID-19 entering or spreading in the Workplace.
Employers may be vulnerable if Workers can prove they failed to take reasonable steps to protect them.
The minimum standards for managing the risks of COVID-19 have been determined by Public Health in each State and Territory.
Employers need to ensure that they comply with their or State or Territory minimum standards and reduce the risk associated with COVID-19 transmission in their Workplace.
Employers should complete a new COVID-19 Safety Plan or review and update their existing COVID-19 Safety Plan.
Each State and Territory have a local workplace health and safety body:
– Australian Capital Territory: Work Safe ACT
– New South Wales: SafeWork NSW
– Northern Territory: NT WorkSafe
– Queensland: Workplace Health and Safety Queensland
– South Australia: SafeWork SA
– Tasmania: WorkSafe Tasmania
– Victoria: WorkSafe Victoria
– Western Australia: WorkSafe WA
Safe Work Australia is the statutory agency leading the development of national policy to improve work health and safety and Workers’ Compensation arrangements across Australia.
It is also recommended Employers refer to Coronavirus and Australian Workplace Laws section on the Fair Work Ombudsman website >> https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au