A Full bench of the Fair Work Commission has agreed to grant paid pandemic leave for aged care workers covered by the Aged Care Award 2010, the Nurses Award 2010 and the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010.

This leave applies to award-covered employees, including regular and systematic casuals, who have to isolate because they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who is suspected of having contracted the virus. The paid pandemic leave entitles these workers to take up to a fortnight's paid leave each time they have to self-isolate.

This leave will count as service and it does not impact any other leave entitlements.

Paid pandemic leave will not be available where an employee:

  • is sick and has an entitlement to paid personal leave, which should be taken first;
  • is actually diagnosed with COVID-19, and that employee becomes entitled to workers' compensation benefits; or
  • is able to work at home or remotely during self-isolation.

In summary:

  • the paid pandemic leave entitlement is for workers who are required by their employer, a government medical authority or a medical practitioner to self-isolate;
  • where the self-isolation results from the advice of a medical practitioner (as distinct from a requirement of the employer or a government medical authority), it will be necessary for a medical certificate to be produced;
  • it will be a condition to receive the paid pandemic leave entitlement that the relevant employee agrees to undertake a COVID-19 test at the earliest opportunity;
  • for a full-time employee, the leave shall be paid at the employee's base rate of pay for the employee's ordinary hours of work in the period of the leave;
  • for a part-time employee, pay for this leave will be the greater of: (a) their agreed ordinary hours of work; or (b) the average of their weekly ordinary hours of work for the previous six weeks; and
  • the entitlement will extend to casual employees engaged on a regular and systematic basis, and would entitle them to payment based on an average of their earnings over the previous six weeks.

The paid pandemic leave will be available from 29 July 2020 until 29 October 2020.

Read the full decision.

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