The Akyra team has been fielding several queries in relation to leave entitlements and what can be used if an employee is required to obtain a COVID test or quarantine.
Who is considered a close contact?
A close contact is a person who has had at least 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with a COVID-19 case in a business or venue. Those identified as close contact will have different requirements based on whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated. However, all close contacts are required to get tested immediately and quarantine for a period.
What is the quarantine period?
From 22 December 2021, fully vaccinated close contacts will be required to quarantine for seven days instead of 14. However, the quarantine period remains at 14 days for unvaccinated contacts.
Akyra has consulted with our Legal Advisor and Trusted Legal Associate Jeanette Jifkins of Onyx Legal and the below information has been gathered to provide advice to employers and businesses.
The Queensland Government has also released a table that helps Queenslanders identify and understand the definitions and requirements of different exposures to COVID-19 cases.
What leave entitlements can an employee use to quarantine?
Employees have a responsibility, under workplace health and safety laws, to take reasonable care not to adversely affect the health and safety of others at work. This means that an employee can’t be dismissed or injured in their employment if they need to quarantine or self-isolate, to avoid the risk of spreading the virus in the workplace.
When complying with a public health direction (e.g. the employee can’t go to work if they need to quarantine or self-isolate), they must take paid leave (either annual leave or unpaid leave).
Some employers are allowing access to personal leave; however, this should only apply if the employee is unwell at the same time.
Employees may be able to use paid or unpaid carer’s leave to care for a family member or a member of their household who is sick with COIVD-19. Carer’s leave may also be available if there’s an emergency.
For more information regarding leave entitlements, visit Fair Work
NEED SUPPORT OR ADVICE?
As Queensland tackles the increase of Omicron cases, if you or your workplace has any queries in relation to leave entitlements of employees, please don’t hesitate to contact Margaret Goody on Margaret.email@example.com or 0418 794 479
Disclaimer – Reliance on Content
The material distributed is general information only. The information supplied is not and is not intended to be, legal or other professional advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. You should seek legal or professional advice in relation to your specific situation.
Source: https://www.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/228655/Managing-the-risk-for-COVID-19-exposures.pdf, https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/pay-leave-and-stand-downs/quarantine-self-isolation
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