COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent the spread of coronavirus?

Practising good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. You should:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the bathroom.
  • Cover you cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues and use alcohol -based hand sanitiser.
  • And if unwell, seek medical advice and avoid contract with others (stay more than 1.5 meters from people).
 


If I’m working for the agency and contract coronavirus will I still get paid for the time I can’t work?

If you are working as a casual employee and you contract coronavirus or acquire any other illness either at work or in the community, you will not be paid for your sick period. This is because casual employees are paid a 25% loading to compensate for (amongst other things) sick leave, carers leave, annual leave etc.

However, there may be opportunity through the Governments recent stimulus package to access Sickness Allowance through Centrelink, conditional on means testing criteria. The Sickness Allowance is an existing Centrelink means-tested payment that provides up to $560 for singles without children and up to $1,010 for couples out of work due to illness. Eligibility and payment amounts are determined by asset tests but, should they meet those criteria, casual workers and independent contractors may qualify for the payment.

Information about the Sickness Allowance
https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/sickness-allowance

Please note – people can apply for the Sickness Allowance until March 20 after which it will be rolled into the Jobseeker payment. The payment itself and eligibility will not change, however the process for applying and the name of the benefit will. Further information about the upcoming change can be found here - https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/sickness-allowance/how-manage-your-payment/when-payment-stops

If you are working as a permanent or part-time employee, you will be able to access your sick leave entitlement. Please speak with your manager.
 


How will the agency support me if I contract Coronavirus whilst working?

If you test positive for COVID-19, the Public Health Unit will review and assess your close contacts and provide advice in relation to your medical care and isolation requirements. You are required to advise the agency.
You are also able to access our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), please contact your manager for details.
A medical clearance will be required for you to return back to work.
 


What is the agencies requirements with host employers in relation to staff whilst working though the agency?

Both your Agency employer and your host employer share obligations to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers and others at the workplace.

This includes providing and maintaining a work environment that is without risk to health and safety and adequate facilities for workers in carrying out their work, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Safe Work Australia WHS advice regarding management of workplaces and workforces in light of Coronavirus recommends the following measures:
Provide information about what is expected of workers such as:
  • workers should know when to stay away from the workplace
  • what action to take if they become unwell, and
  • what symptoms to be concerned about
  • notification requirements related to international travel, ill health confirmed contacts (COVID-19)
 
Provide workers with personal protective equipment appropriate to the risk of their work tasks and facilities, and information and training on how and why they are required to use them, and require workers to practice good hygiene.
 


What do I do if I don’t feel safe or protected where I am working for reasons such as limited or inaccessible Personal Protective Equipment, no formal policy or processes in place?

The first action is to escalate your concerns with site management. If you are not satisfied with that response contact you branch manager to discuss your concerns. It is also useful to read the relevant Health Department fact sheet. - https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-resources
 


How do I know if I need to self-quarantine?

There are three scenarios in which you may need to self-quarantine:
  1. Related to Travel - As of the15th of March all persons arriving from overseas to Australia are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. If you have cold and flu type symptoms during this period you are required to seek and follow medical advice. 
  2. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The medical team will advise you in relation to your quarantine and medical requirements and support.
  3. If you have been assessed as a close contact of a confirmed person with COVID-19, you will be contacted by the Public Health Unit and they will assess and determine if you are required to self-quarantine. This is assessed on a case by case basis.
 


I’ve been overseas. I’ve returned and self-quarantined for 2 weeks with no flu like symptoms, do I need a medical clearance to commence my contract?

The best and preferred option is to obtain a medical certificate, it provides all parties with piece of mind.
 


My housemate has been told to self-isolate for 2 weeks, what do I do?

If a household member is a suspected case, you may need to be isolated. This will be determined by the Public Health Unit on a case-by case basis. Your public health unit will contact you if you need to isolate.
 If you are unclear, best to call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080.


I have flu like symptoms but have been in self-quarantine for 2 weeks, what do I do?

If you have not already sought medical advice, please do. You will need to provide a medical clearance before you recommence work.
 


If I have self-quarantined for 14 days, and am not displaying symptoms, do I need medical clearance before returning to work?

Yes, you will need to have a medical certificate to return back to work.
 


Where is my closest fever clinic (COVID -19 testing clinic)?

Each state Department of Health has dedicated COVID-19 testing resources. You can either access these through calling the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080  by their respective websites.
New South Wales - https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-clinics.aspx

Australian Capital Territory - https://health.act.gov.au/about-our-health-system/novel-coronavirus-covid-19

Western Australia - https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/COVID-clinics

South Australia - https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/health+topics/health+topics+a+-+z/covid+2019/covid-19+response/covid-19+clinics+and+testing+centres

Victoria - https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19
 
Queensland - https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/take-action/testing-and-fever-clinics

Northern Territory - Royal Darwin Hospital

Tasmania http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/releases/coronavirus_respiratory_clinics_to_open_in_north_west_tasmania
 


If I test positive, do all my work mates need to be tested?

Only workmates that have been identified by the Public Health unit as having had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 will be tested. There is no need for people to be tested if they have not been contacted by the public health unit. If they do present symptoms, they seek medical advice.
 


What do I do if I feel like I am in a vulnerable situation, whereby someone I work with is displaying symptoms but refusing to go home or seek medical advice?

First step is to have a kind and respectful chat with your work colleague to ensure there are not any misunderstandings.
However, if you remain concerned discuss these concerns with the any concerns to the site manager. If not resolved speak to your branch manager.
Generally, when people they are unwell, they are supported to be away from work until they are recovered.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other colds and flus and include
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing

While coronoavirus if of a concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying these symptoms are could be suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness – not coronavirus.
Always maintain good hand washing practice.
 
 


If I have flu like symptoms and stays home from work, can host employer insist on written return to work clearance before I can come back to work?

Yes, this is required.
 


Also if the doctors is of the view that I have  COVID-19 symptoms, is the  test compulsory?

If the medical officer assesses the person to have symptoms and characteristics that aligned to COVID-19, they will be tested.
 


If I have flu like symptoms and stay home from work can host employer insist on written return to work clearance before I come back to work?

Yes

 
 


If the doctors believes I meet the criteria of COVID-19 symptoms, is a test compulsory?

If the medical officer assesses the person to have symptoms and characteristics that aligned to COVID-19, they will be tested.
 


If I have come in contact with a positive (COVID-19) person whilst at work, will I be paid until I am cleared for work? Is this Workcover?

Being a confirmed contact and requiring isolation, is assessed and determined by the Public Health Unit through contact tracing. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be able to return to work with a clearance certificate.

There is no need for people to be tested if they have not been contacted by the Public Health Unit. If they do present symptoms, they seek medical advice.

Where casual employees require isolation (through notice from the Public Health Unit or Health Department) but have not been positively diagnosed, you will not be paid for your sick period. This is because casual employees are paid a 25% loading to compensate for (amongst other things) sick leave, carers leave, annual leave etc.

Workcover is not available for workers who are in isolation or quarantine. Further information can be found on your State Workcover Authority website.



If my workplace shuts down as a result of the coronavirus, do I still get paid? 

Where shifts to casual employees are reduced on account of business downturn, the employees will not be entitled to payment during this period.
For permanent or permanent part time employees, you need to refer to your employee contract and relevant award conditions (which can be found on the Fair Work website). 

However, for all workers (casual and permanent) be advised, we are in constant communication with our host employers and clients, to ensure early notice for you and will endeavour to negotiate favourable outcomes, on a case-by-case basis.


 
 

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