Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

On 14 October 2022, the Federal Government's Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment ended, along with mandatory isolation requirements for people who are positive to COVID-19

Are you unsure of your employer obligations when it comes to leave and pay entitlements in relation to COVID-19?

If you are unsure of the leave and pay entitlements for employees who are unable to come to work due to illness while COVID-19 is in the community, we have put together a summary and resources to help you manage disruptions due to staff absences.

What are the leave entitlements for staff that have COVID-19?

Under the state and national industrial relations systems, if a permanent employee has COVID-19 the following applies:

  • Accrued paid sick leave can be taken.
  • If a permanent employee has used all of their paid sick leave, you may allow them to access another form of paid leave (such as annual leave or long service leave) for the time they are unable to come to work. Using annual leave or long service leave must be mutually agreed by the employee and employer.
  • Employees and employers can choose for a period of unpaid leave to be used.

Read more about managing entitlements for employees sick with COVID-19 on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) website (state industrial relations system) or visit the Fair Work website (national industrial relations system).

What are the leave entitlements for staff that have family or household members with COVID-19?

Under the state and national industrial relations systems, if a permanent employee has to care for a family member with COVID-19:

  • They are entitled to use accrued carer’s leave.
  • If your employee does not have carer’s leave, you may allow them to access another form of paid leave (such as annual leave or long service leave) for the time they are unable to come to work. Using annual leave or long service leave must be mutually agreed upon by the employee and employer.
  • Employees and employers can choose for a period of unpaid leave to be used.
  • You may wish to discuss working from home arrangements – if possible.

Read more about entitlements for employees with a family or household member that is sick with COVID-19 on the DMIRS website (state industrial relations system) or visit the FairWork website (national industrial relations system).

What are the entitlements for staff if the business needs to temporarily close?

Under the state industrial relations system, depending on the award the business falls under, you may be able to stand down staff without pay if you can demonstrate there has been a stoppage of work and that stoppage was not reasonably preventable by the employer, and that the employees to be stood down could not be otherwise usefully employed. Visit the DMIRS website to find out more.

Under the national industrial relations system, you can choose to stand employees down without pay if there is a sudden workplace closure that is outside of the business owner’s control. This includes closure due to government direction or a stoppage due to a lack of supply beyond the control of the employer. Visit the Fairwork website to find out more.

What are the COVID-19 isolation requirements?

COVID-19 mandatory isolation requirements ended on 14 October 2022, except for workers in high-risk environments such as public hospitals. However, Anyone who is COVID-19 positive or experiencing symptoms is strongly encouraged to stay home until they have recovered. Visit our current guidelines page to learn more.

More information

COVID-19
People
14 October 2022