The Fair Work Commission has issued determinations varying the Aged Care Award, Nurses Award and Health Service Award.

The Fair Work Commission issued determinations varying the following awards:

  • Aged Care Award
  • Nurses Award
  • Health Service Award

These awards now have a temporary new Schedule Y, which applies from the first pay period on or after 29 July 2020 until 29 October 2020.

Schedule Y provides up to two weeks’ paid pandemic leave for eligible employees for each occasion they can’t work (including from home) due to circumstances relating to coronavirus as follows:

  • their employer, or government or medical authorities, require them to self-isolate or quarantine
  • they have to self-isolate or quarantine while waiting for a coronavirus test result
  • they are showing symptoms of coronavirus and have been advised by a medical practitioner to self-isolate or quarantine
  • they have come into contact with a person suspected of having contracted coronavirus, or
  • of government or medical authority measures taken in response to coronavirus (including, for example, closing a facility).
  • Employees who want to take paid pandemic leave need to have already been tested for coronavirus on each occasion of leave or agree to get tested as soon as possible. If they don’t, they aren’t entitled to take the leave.

The leave is available in full immediately for all full time, part time and eligible casual employees, it does not need to be accrued and needs to start before but can finish after 29 October 2020.

Employees can’t take paid pandemic leave if:

  • their situation means they are entitled to take paid sick or carer’s leave instead (i.e if they can’t work because of a personal illness or injury, or because they need to provide care or support for a member of their immediate family or household who is sick or injured or to help during a family emergency)
  • if they are entitled to workers compensation benefits because of contracting the virus
  • An employee has to let their employer know as soon as possible, that they’re going to take paid pandemic leave and the reason for taking the leave.

An employer can ask an employee for evidence that shows why they took the leave. The evidence has to be enough to satisfy a reasonable person that the employee was entitled to take paid pandemic leave. This can be a medical certificate if advice has been given by a medical practitioner.

Paid pandemic leave does not affect other paid or unpaid leave entitlements and counts as service for entitlements under awards and National Employment Standards.

Please refer to the awards for further information:

  • Aged Care Award
  • Health Services Award
  • Nurses Award
  • What Action Business Should Take:
  • Ensure your policies are up to date and reflect requirements for notification and evidence of Pandemic Leave
  • Update leave forms to include Pandemic Leave

If you need assistance with this, please contact us.

Schedule X extended or re-introduced

When Covid-19 pandemic hit Fair Work added a temporary Schedule (Schedule X) into various Awards which allowed for the entitlement of unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave at half pay.  These were due to end at various times with some awards having expired and been removed from the award and other awards already extended

Due to the continuing impacts of coronavirus Schedule X has now been extended or reinstated as follows.

Schedule X extended until 30 September in the following awards:

  • Fast Food Award
  • Hair and Beauty Award
  • Retail Award
  • Storage and Services Award
  • Schedule X extended until 29 October in the following awards:
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award
  • Aged Care Award
  • Ambulance and Patient Transport Industry Award
  • Health Professionals and Support Services Award
  • Medical Practitioners Award
  • Nurses Award
  • Pharmacy Industry Award
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Industry Award
  • Support Employment Services Award
  • Schedule X has been reinstated in the following awards and applies from the first pay period on or after 27 July 2020 until 30 September 2020.
  • Manufacturing Award
  • Graphic Arts Award

Schedule X gives employees:

  • 2 weeks of unpaid pandemic leave
  • The ability to take twice as much annual leave at half their normal pay.

For more information see Unpaid pandemic leave & annual leave changes to awards.

Schedule I extended

The Fair Work Commission has extended Schedule I in the Vehicle Award.  Schedule I was a temporary schedule that allowed temporary provisions for changes to be made to full time and part time employees hours of work and annual leave.  The schedule was due to end on 31 July 2020 and has now been extended to operate until 31 August 2020.

For further information see Vehicle Award changes during coronavirus.