Corrections: Pandemic Leave Directive explained for CCOs

Posted on March 27, 2020

There are a number of people questioning what leave is available, in what circumstances it is available and whether ASA is paid. 

Here are the facts:

There are three types of leave that may be accessed for absences related to COVID-19: Sick Leave, Pandemic Special Leave and Special Leave. They can be accessed as follows:
 
SICK LEAVE
 
Sick Leave (does not include ASA). Sick Leave is an entitlement under Directive 10/18 and is accessed as usual or in any of the following circumstances relating to COVID-19 where you:
  • are sick with any regular sickness or have to care for immediate family or household member/s who are sick with any regular sickness; 
  • have an actual viral infection; and/or
  • are required to care for immediate family or household member/s who have an actual or suspected viral infection; and/or
  • are required to care for children as a result of school or childcare centres closures.

PANDEMIC SPECIAL LEAVE

Pandemic Special Leave (Includes ASA). This is the specific new leave added under the new Directive 1/20 Employment Arrangements in the Event of a Health Pandemic. The Directive states:
 
Upon application, an employee will be entitled to a maximum 20 days paid “Special Pandemic Leave” for use when the employee is unable to attend work and unable to perform work under flexible working arrangements because they:
  • have an actual viral infection and have exhausted their sick leave accruals; and/or
  • are required to care for immediate family or household member/s who have an actual or suspected viral infection and have exhausted their sick leave accruals; and/or
  • are required to care for children as a result of school or childcare centres closures and have exhausted their sick leave accruals.
It attracts ASA because it is paid as "Regular Remuneration" which is defined as, "ordinary salary including work related allowances and includes payments based on a projected roster where applicable but excluding overtime"
The 20 days are 20 shifts, not converted to hours.
 
SPECIAL LEAVE
 
Special Leave (does not include ASA) The Pandemic Directive states that where an employee is not able to work because of a health pandemic and relevant leave arrangements are not provided for in this directive or in a relevant industrial instrument, the Ministerial Directive about special leave may apply.
 
The examples given in the Pandemic Directive where Special Leave may be granted under the Special Leave Directive include:
  • Where a health pandemic requires an employee to self-isolate in accordance with health advice and the employee is not sick, and they are not able to undertake flexible work arrangements.
  • Where employees are unable to attend work because they are reliant on public transport and services are suspended or cancelled.
  • Where employees are absent from work because they are fulfilling volunteer roles in the community related to the health pandemic (e.g. assisting in a hospital or an aged care facility), and that absence is authorised by the employer.
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