The Prime Minister has announced that from Friday 14 October 2022 workers who test positive to Covid-19 will no longer be required to self-isolate. This day will also mark the end of the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.
Can you still direct workers not to attend the workplace?
Under State and Territory WHS laws, employers have an obligation to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the health and safety of all workers including reducing the risk of transmission of Covid-19 to others.
In conducting a WHS risk assessment, employers will need to consider the nature of the workplace, the employee’s role (including whether they are required to have close contact with others) and external factors such as the degree of community transmission and state or territory public health advice.
Employers must also comply with any consultation obligations under WHS laws and any relevant award, enterprise agreement or company policy.
If an employer directs a permanent employee not to attend work, and they cannot perform their role at home, then the employer would be required to pay the employee unless he/she is unfit for work (in which case it would be personal leave).
Can employees still request to self-isolate?
A Covid-positive employee may request to work from home or if that is not practicable, agree to take annual leave or sick leave if they are unfit for work.
State and Territory public health orders
Each State and Territory will be implementing their own public health orders to reflect the changes to isolation rules.
Vulnerable and High risk workers
To protect the most vulnerable and those in high-risk settings, the National Cabinet has agreed to continue targeted financial support for casual workers, on the same basis as the Paid Leave Disaster Payments, for workers in aged care, disability care, aboriginal healthcare and hospital care sectors. Final details including eligibility and compliance will be released by Services Australia.
Please contact one of our BetterHR advisors if you have any specific questions in relation to an individual employee in your workplace.
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