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Paid pandemic leave for health workers

FWC has granted paid pandemic leave in three modern awards.
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Paid pandemic leave for health workers

Paid pandemic leave for health workers

3 August 2020

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has made a decision to grant paid pandemic leave in three modern awards of Aged Care, Health Professionals and Nurses Awards with the exclusion of casual workers with irregular hours. There is continued pressure on the Federal Government to extend paid pandemic leave to cover every Australian worker.

In April 2020, 99 modern awards were varied by the FWC to include unpaid pandemic leave as an entitlement and recognised that more may need to be addressed in regards to healthcare workers covered by the health awards.

The full bench recently found there has been "a significant deterioration in the position with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic" referring to Victoria's significant number of new coronavirus cases per day as well as New South Wales.

The paid pandemic leave will apply for three months from 29 July 2020. "On each occasion of self-isolation" an aged care worker who is either experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or come into close contact with someone who may have COVID-19 will be provided a maximum of two weeks' paid leave.

“Paid pandemic leave is a crucial public health measure that provides a circuit breaker to stem the rate of transmission by allowing those with symptoms to stay home without losing income," said Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).

Ms McManus said, “the problem of workers having no leave goes beyond the aged care sector. No worker should be left considering if they should go to work with mild symptoms to pay the bills.

Having paid pandemic leave across Australia should stop the workplace transmission of the virus.

The Findings

Health Sector Awards–Pandemic Leave [2020] FWCFB 3940 (27 July 2020)

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