The best way to protect workers, workplaces and our communities from the Coronavirus is to provide people with the support that they need to quarantine or self-isolate if they have been exposed to the virus.
In our workplaces this may mean providing all workers with 2 weeks paid special leave if they need to quarantine or extending sick leave to all casual workers. No worker should have to chose between losing income and not being able to pay their bills or going to work sick and potentially spreading the virus.
What are your entitlements if you have to quarantine or self-isolate?
Your entitlements will depend on your contract. If you are a casual worker you do not have access to any form of paid leave. This means that if you need to take time off work to quarantine or self-isolate, you are not entitled to payment for that time. Although, several businesses - big and small - have made the commitment to extend paid special leave or sick leave to their casual workers sot they don't lose income if they are exposed to the Coronavirus. While it is not a legal entitlement, it is something you can organise with your workmates to ask for.
If you are a part-time or full-time worker you will have access to sick leave. Full-time workers have at least 10 full days of sick leave under the National Employment Standards and possibly more depending on your award or agreement. Part-time workers will have a portion of that leave depending on how many hours you work per week. Should you need to quarantine or self-isolate you are entitled to access that sick leave. If you have already taken your sick leave or don't have enough to cover the full two week quarantine period, then you may need to take unpaid leave.
You boss cannot force you to take your annual leave under any circumstances including instances where you may need to self isolate or quarantine.
Can I be fired for going into quarantine or self-isolation?
You cannot be fired for being absent from work while sick. If you have been fired for going into quarantine or self-isolation please contact your Unions or the Young Workers Centre immediately.
Want more info on your entitlements?
You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any more specific questions about your entitlements. We provide free and confidential advice for anyone under the age of 25. We can also provide referrals to relevant bodies if you need further help.
Authorised M Harrison for UnionsACT, 11 London Circuit, Canberra ACT 2601.