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COVID-19 lockdown: guidance for employers

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COVID-19 lockdowns continue to impact business operations across Australia. MEA has developed employer guidance to help businesses. 

It is important that actual medical advice from a general practitioner is sought and relevant government directives are followed. Those directions are a priority.

Testing for the virus is available and where an employer considers that there may be a reasonable risk of infection or exposure to the virus health directives are asking those people to attend for these tests.

Working from home options may be explored where appropriate.

What if a worker has returned from an affected area and has to quarantine/self-isolate

If the worker is unable work because they must isolate; the worker can access annual leave, RDOs or leave without pay until such time that they cleared. If the worker is unwell, they can access sick leave but simply isolating is not an illness or injury and therefore sick leave is not applicable.

What if school is closed and a worker has to look after their children?

In the event a school is closed, employees will be able to access the carer’s leave component of their personal leave to look after children. This is an unexpected emergency affecting an immediate family member and fits the Fair Work Act definition for Carer’s Leave. It may appropriate to explore with the worker whether the caring responsibility is able to be shared between family members. In the event that carer’s leave is fully exhausted then annual leave and RDO’s and LWOP can be used for the balance of the 14 days.

What if a whole worksite, town or area has been directed to cease operation by the health directive and there is no prospect of redeployment?

This would be a stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer cannot reasonably be held responsible and fits the criteria for workers to be stood down under section 524 of the Fair Work Act. Workers would not be required to be paid in this case but could access their annual leave or RDOs in this time. Workers should be notified of this stand down in writing.

Where work is affected, it may become necessary to consult with workers about taking periods of leave to help the business. There was an announcement of stimulus for businesses to help them keep their workers as the pinch of projects and demand is felt.


Call the MEA Employer Advice hotline for employer guidance about your State’s restrictions

All Master Electricians have unlimited access, no cost, to the Employer Advice hotline. One of the many benefits of being a Master Electrician.

Read more: MEA’s latest advice on what work can continue here

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Speak direct to the experts. Master Electricians have unlimited access to the MEA Employer Advice hotline.

Contact the Employer Advice Team directly on 1300 889 198.