Coronavirus-related Absence Calls Spike by 150%, Virus Related Calls Double over the Last Week

Published March 19, 2020 (last updated July 17, 2020) -

The client advice line of Employsure, which advises 25,000 small to medium sized businesses as clients, has been swamped by employers needing help managing their absent workforce as the coronavirus crisis takes hold.

The Advice Line has received a 150% spike in absence related calls over the last week and a doubling of virus related calls.

“Employers are struggling with staff who are calling in sick, which is understandable given the current circumstances. Additionally there are a myriad of Coronavirus related scenarios, such as the new self-isolation measures, potential forced workplace shut downs and what entitlements apply to staff in those situations,” said Employsure’s Head of Operations Stephen Roebuck.

“Basically, if the employee is calling in sick and they have a medical certificate, then usual Personal Leave will ordinarily apply. Employers don’t need to do anything different in this regard. If the employee’s symptoms are consistent with those of COVID-19 or cold and flu generally, we’re encouraging employers to direct that their staff get a medical clearance before returning to the workplace. Employers are within their rights to request this.

“For employees who have to self-isolate after international travel, if they are sick then personal leave applies. If they are not sick, then they may have access to accrued leave such as annual leave or long service leave. If those are not an option, then unpaid leave applies.”

By The Numbers: Employee Absence Related Calls To Employsure’s Advice Line

5 – 11 March: 10%
12 – 17 March: 25%

By The Numbers: Coronavirus Related Calls To Employsure’s Advice Line

Week commending March 9: 20%
Week commencing March 16: 45%

“Remote working is also a big issue right now. Not just managing the technology, but also understanding work health and safety obligations and the duty of care to employees who are working remotely,” Roebuck said.

“The shift has been so sudden and dramatic, employers are really struggling to understand their obligations to employees. The situation is evolving so rapidly, we’re urging business owners to stay informed and up-to-date.”

Coronavirus Resource Hub For Employers

To help employers understand and apply their obligations during the coronavirus pandemic, Employsure has built an online Resource Hub. It includes a free Coronavirus Policy for the workplace, FAQs and other helpful resources specifically for business owners. It can be found at

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