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What is Paid Pandemic Leave?

Published August 19, 2020 (last updated February 9, 2023) - Face2Face Field Service Manager
aged care nurse with paid pandemic leave helps patient

The Fair Work Commission has introduced two weeks of paid leave for aged care industry workers covered under the Aged Care Award, Nurses Award and Health Professionals and Support Services Award 

This change went into effect on 29 July 2020. 

What are the Changes? 

Permanent and regular and systematic casual employees covered by the impacted Awards who are engaged in the “aged care industry” are entitled to up to 2 weeks’ paid pandemic leave where they are prevented from working (including working from home) due to: 

  • being required to self-isolate or quarantine by government, medical authorities or their employer; or  
  • being required to self-isolate on the advice of a medical practitioner due to displaying COVID-19 symptoms or have come into contact with a person suspected of having contracted COVID-19; or 
  • the employee being in isolation or quarantine whilst waiting for COVID-19 test results; or  
  • measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic 

Who Does This Affect? 

This ruling affects employers under the Aged Care Award, Nurses Award and Health Professionals and Support Services Award, who have permanent, and regular and systematic casual employees employed in the “aged care industry”. 

It is important to emphasise that not all employees covered under the Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2020 and Nurses Award 2010 will be entitled to paid pandemic leave. It is limited to those employees who are in engaged in the “aged care industry”. 

Employees can only access this leave if they meet certain conditions. For example, if they satisfy the criteria for paid personal leave they must take that paid entitlement, not paid pandemic leave. 

What is Defined as the Aged Care Industry? 

The aged care industry means the “provision of accommodation and care services for aged persons in a hostel, nursing home, aged care independent living units, aged care serviced apartments, garden settlement, retirement village or any other residential accommodation facility” 

How Much Is the Paid Pandemic Leave Payment? 

Paid pandemic leave payments are paid to employees in the same way as they would be paid other types of leave 

Only permanent, and regular and systematic casual employees are entitled to this payment. 

If you like more information on paid pandemic leave, please get in touch with Employsure. 

Can My Employee Get Unpaid Pandemic Leave? 

This will depend on the modern award that applies to the employee. Most modern awards now have specific provisions for unpaid pandemic leave. If you would like to know if your employees are affected, contact Employsure to find out more. 

About Employsure

With over 20,000 clients, Employsure is one of Australia’s largest workplace relations specialists.

We help small business owners better understand workplace relations and WHS legislation, giving them peace-of-mind that their business is getting backed by expert advice.

Want to learn more about Paid Pandemic Leave?

Call Employsure right now on the number below to get free, initial advice about Paid Pandemic Leave.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • When Did Paid Pandemic Leave Come Into Effect? 

    Paid pandemic leave came into effect on Wednesday, 29 July 2020. 

  • How Long Does Paid Pandemic Leave Last For? 

    Eligible employees have access to 10 days’ paid pandemic leave, per occasion. 

  • Can Casual Employees Take Paid Pandemic Leave? 

    Casual employees considered to be regular and systematic, that work in the “aged care industry” and are under the Aged Care Award, Nurses Award, or Health Professionals and Support Services Award have the right to paid pandemic leave. 

  • Can an Employee Take Pandemic Leave While Receiving the JobKeeper Wage Subsidy? 

    Two weeks’ Paid Pandemic leave only applies to specific employees within the Aged Care Award, and employees under the Nurses Award and Health Services Award in the aged care industry (this is called Schedule Y in these awards). To clarify, the employee isn’t entitled to both JobKeeper and Paid Pandemic Leave. They either receive paid pandemic leave, if not under the JobKeeper scheme; or if they are under the JobKeeper scheme, then JobKeeper would subsidise Paid Parental leave

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