Fair Work extends pandemic leave and annual leave COVID-19 measures
The Fair Work Commission has extended two temporary entitlement measures introduced in April 2020 that were designed to give employees, and their employers, additional flexibility when managing leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contained in a temporary schedule called Schedule X, 99 awards, including the Children’s Services Award, were updated effective 8 April 2020 to allow employees two weeks of unpaid pandemic leave and the ability to take twice as much annual leave at half their normal pay if their employer agrees.
These measures have now been extended until 30 September 2020 to 63 Awards of which the Children’s Services Award is one.
With respect to unpaid pandemic leave, employees can access up to two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave (or more by agreement with their employer) if they are prevented from working:
- as a result of being required to self-isolate by government or medical authorities, or acting on the advice of a medical practitioner, or
- by measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the pandemic (for example, an enforceable government direction restricting non-essential businesses).
The leave is available immediately, without being accrued, and can be accessed without exhausting paid leave balances.
With respect to annual leave at half pay, employees can take their annual leave at half pay, and double their time off work, if their employer agrees. The agreement has to be in writing and the employer needs to keep it as a record. An employee on leave at half pay accumulates annual leave and sick and carer’s leave as if they were on leave at full pay.
For a more detailed review of the two extended measures please visit the Fair Work Coronavirus information page here.