The Fair Work Commission introduces paid pandemic leave for care home workers

The Fair Work Commission introduces paid pandemic leave for care home workers

The Australian Fair Work Commission has introduced paid pandemic leave for care staff working at residential elderly care homes to support them during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, effective immediately.

Nurses, healthcare workers and care workers will be able to access up to two weeks of paid leave if necessary, as part of the Aged Care, Nurses and Health Services Awards act, which ensures fair pay and entitlements for all those working in the sector.

The pandemic leave benefit, lasting up to three months, is available to full-time, part-time and eligible casual employees. The leave needs to start before 29 October 2020 but can finish after this date.

Employees are entitled to this leave if they cannot work for reasons such as having to self-isolate or quarantine due to contracting the virus, having to self-isolate while waiting for a Coronavirus test result, if they are showing symptoms of the virus, if they have come into contact with someone who might have the virus, or the government introduces new measures to tackle the virus, such as closing facilities.

Full-time employees who take this leave will be paid at their full base rate, while casual employees will be paid based on their average weekly pay over a six-week period.

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A spokesperson at The Fair Work Commission said: “On 29 July 2020, the Fair Work Commission issued determinations varying the Aged Care Award, the Nurses Award and the Health Services Award. The determinations insert a temporary new scheme which applies from the first pay period on or after 29 July 2020 until 29 October 2020.

“This provides access to paid pandemic leave for eligible residential aged care employees covered by the Aged Care Award, Nurses Award and Health Services Award.”