With COVID cases rising across the country, it is important you know your rights to safe work and what to do if you need help.
Working from home where you can
As COVID cases increase, we’re working to make sure that members have the right to work from home. As a result of our advocacy, many APS agencies have put on hold plans to return to workplaces and reinstituted widespread working from home rights in affected locations.
There are some differences between agencies, roles and locations, however we’re working to ensure that working from home is made available as widely as possible.
In circumstances where employees have to attend the workplace, employers must manage risks associated with COVID-19 transmission. This means that all reasonably practicable steps to minimise COVID-19 risks must be taken by your agency.
This includes measures like physical distancing, mask-wearing where required, clear consultation and communication with employees about workplace exposures, in addition to complying with all relevant public health directions.
Employers will need to review their COVID protocols to ensure that employees are kept safe considering higher case numbers, changes to isolation and testing requirements, and new definitions of close contact which all increase the risk of workplace transmission.
Employees should ensure they comply with all COVID protocols and health orders.
Accessing leave when you need it
With COVID cases rapidly increasing, you may be sick with COVID or affected by isolation rules.
If you are sick, you can access personal leave. If you do not have sufficient paid personal leave or other applicable paid leave, you have the right to take unpaid personal leave. No worker should be working while sick.
Additional paid leave arrangements may apply to you – for example, in the APS you may also be able to access paid discretionary leave if you run out of paid sick leave credits or need to isolate but cannot work from home.
As a result of CPSU’s advocacy, casual employees in the APS are also able to access paid leave if affected by COVID-19. We continue to make the case that workers on labour hire contracts should similarly be provided with paid leave arrangements.
The CPSU will work with employers and advocate to ensure that:
- Paid leave is provided to employees who need to get a COVID test.
- Where rapid antigen tests (RATs) are required for work purposes or due to workplace exposure, they are provided by the employer.
- Proof of a positive RAT is accepted as evidence for any leave that needs to be taken due to a staff member contracting COVID.
Do you need more help?
With the COVID situation rapidly changing, your union is here for you. Throughout this pandemic, union members have worked together to keep people safe and ensure people are looked after.
If you need more help, please talk to your delegate, or contact our Member Service Centre by email at [email protected] or by phone on 1300 137 636.
If you are not yet a member, join the union that supports you.