Your rights and responsibilities

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Public Sector

Last updated 3 August 2020.

Please note the advice provided on these pages is intended as general advice. If you have specific concerns, please contact the Duty Officer to discuss your particular circumstances by email [email protected]

We strongly encourage you to regularly check the updates be provided from your Local Health Networks as this will provide you with the most up to date information.

A. If you are fit, well and presenting for work, yet you receive a direction from your employer to go home, you are entitled to be remunerated for the period you are not at work. You should not have to use your own accrued leave entitlements when directed away from the workplace at your employer’s discretion.
A. If you have been tested for COVID-19 because you are unwell, you may use your Personal/Carer’s leave. Your employer may require you to provide a medical certificate to support the taking of this leave.

If you were tested for COVID-19 for another reason, and are otherwise fit for work but are awaiting your test results, talk to your manager about applying for Special Leave with Pay for COVID-19. The revised Determination of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment - 3.1: Employment Conditions – Hours of Work, Overtime and Leave: Supplementary Provisions for COVID-19 provides for Special Leave with Pay for COVID-19, and describes the entitlement as applying to support absences from the worksite or workplace for COVID-19 situations. Please contact the Duty Officer if you need further advice.

A. First, your employer should consider any capacity for these staff members to work from home where reasonable and practicable. Employers are encouraged to adopt more flexible arrangements wherever possible.

Where it is not practicable or appropriate for the employee to work from home, your employer has the discretion to approve up to 15 days Special Leave with Pay for COVID-19 under the South Australian Commissioner for Public Sector Employment issued a new determination: 3.1 Employment Conditions - Hours of Work, Overtime, and Leave: Supplementary Provisions for COVID-19.

If an employee is directed be their employer to stay home as a precaution and they are fit, well and presenting for work, they should not have to use their own accrued entitlements to cover the period of forced absence. They should therefore be paid during this time without having to use any of their accrued entitlements.

A. Public employees will be required to use their personal leave for this period. If personal leave is exhausted, an employee can access their annual leave. In recognition of the current need for additional flexibility in taking leave, and in accordance with Schedule 1, Part 4, clause 5(3) of the Public Sector Act, employees may apply to take annual/recreation leave on half salary. In this event, the period of leave is to be twice the period to which the employee would otherwise have been entitled.

If you believe that you contracted COVID-19 from work, we would encourage you to speak to your GP via a telehealth meeting and consider making a return to work claim to access income maintenance payments.

A. On 14 December 2021, the South Australian Commissioner for Public Sector Employment issued a new determination: 3.1 Employment Conditions - Hours of Work, Overtime, and Leave: Supplementary Provisions for COVID-19.

The Determination stipulates that If you choose to travel and are subsequently directed to isolate, flexible working arrangements should be considered if possible. If flexible working arrangements are not feasible, then the isolation period will not be considered as Special Leave with Pay for COVID-19, rather it will be deemed either Annual/Long Service or Leave without Pay.

Staff must discuss travel arrangements with local management prior to any such travel being taken to understand any travel implications and associated return to work.

To keep up to date with the latest updates Government policies regarding overseas travel and self-isolation visit the Smart Traveller website. For further information on self-isolation for interstate travellers visit the SA Health website.

 

A. Whether you can be directed to undertake different duties will depend on your employment contract and what has been agreed to in terms of the scope of your duties.

For example, if you were employed as a Nurse Educator, but your contract or job specification includes, ‘providing clinical nursing care’, then you could be directed to perform clinical nursing duties.

Further, all directions must be lawful and reasonable. While it is probably lawful to be directed to alternative duties, it may not be reasonable to be directed to perform duties well outside your usual scope of duties.

A. We would encourage you to discuss this with your employer in the first instance to see if there is capacity for you to be rostered back on, either at your usual worksite or an alternate worksite.

If you experience difficulties with the above, please contact the ANMF (SA Branch) Duty Officer to get further advice by emailing [email protected].

 

A. We would encourage you in the first instance to chat with your employer and see if there is any capacity for flexibility, for example working from home, being transferred to another ward or worksite.

As a casual you do have the capacity to accept or reject any shifts offered, however, to ensure the smooth running of a ward treating COVID-19, we would encourage you to consider all alternatives before cancelling.

A. An employer has an obligation to make sure everyone at work is safe, so they can ask for a medical clearance where it is reasonable. In the case of COVID-19 concerns, this will depend on the circumstances, but should only be in a situation where:

  • A worker may have been exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus; or
  • A worker may have travelled, transited or left a specific country or state.

 

A. Employers should take positive steps to assist workers to manage any increased family responsibilities arising from COVID-19.

You can request for flexible working arrangements if you are responsible for caring for a sick child or adult, or a person with disability or a person who is frail and aged. Your employer must discuss and genuinely consider your request and only refuse on reasonable business grounds which will include a consideration of the operational needs of the workplace. A written response should be provided to you.

Where not practicable or appropriate to offer flexible working arrangements, access will be provided to existing own leave entitlements, including accrued sick/carer’s leave, to take an uncapped number of carer’s leave days. Carer’s leave will be provided to care for dependents who are well, in recognition of the limited alternative care options that are available.

In addition, Carer’s leave may also be utilised to accompany a child or dependent to a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

A. Workers who contract COVID-19 in the course of their employment may be able to claim workers' compensation benefits for any time lost or medical care required.

However, it may be challenging to prove that work was the significant contributing cause of the injury in light of the growing number of community infections. You should contact the Duty Officer for assistance if you are unable to work due to contracting COVID-19 at work.

A.Members with pre-existing health conditions or concerns, or are aged over 65 years are encouraged to have a discussion with their line manager in the first instance to negotiate suitable work arrangements including location and/or duties.

A. A. For permanent employees:

  • If you are not required in your usual area of work, you may be redeployed elsewhere within your Local Health Network, providing you receive the appropriate orientation and any relevant training.
  • If you are not required anywhere in your LHN, you cannot be forced to take Leave Without Pay, Annual Leave/Long Service Leave* or Personal/Carer’s Leave.
  • You may choose to access this leave.
  • You must be paid your contracted hours unless you access any leave without pay.
  • If you are not required anywhere in your LHN, you cannot be forced to take Leave Without Pay, Annual Leave/Long Service Leave* or Personal/Carer’s Leave.
*If you have more than 4 weeks of Annual Leave, you may be directed to access leave as per Human Resources guidelines.

For casual employees:

  • Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of hours. However, the ANMF (SA Branch) is currently urging the Government to mobilise casual workers.

 

A. The Determination of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment – 3.1 provides that the following categories of employees are vulnerable people:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions;
  • People 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions;
  • People 70 years and older; or
  • People with compromised immune systems.

Employers are required to enable self-isolation wherever possible and provide, where appropriate access to working from home arrangements for the above categories of employees. Where those arrangements are not practicable COVID-19 special leave with pay will be applied until exhausted, thereafter employees are able to access their own leave entitlements.

If a vulnerable employee wishes to remain in the workplace they may do so, provided the employer has appropriately assessed any risks and is comfortable they can ensure appropriate observance of any government protocols relating to social distancing.

 

A. Where the duties carried out by an employee require regular COVID-19 testing under an Emergency Management Act 2004 (EM Act) direction, any period waiting in line to be tested will be treated as paid work time, including reasonable travel time from their home or workplace to the testing facility. If required testing falls on a non-workday the employee will be paid the appropriate rate for the minimum hours of engagement under the relevant industrial instrument.

If required testing falls during a period of leave the employee will be re-credited one full day of the applicable leave for each day they are required to undergo testing. Evidence of testing may be required by the agency prior to the recrediting of leave.

A. While Determination 3.1 allows you to request a payment in lieu of annual leave, you cannot be required by your employer to take payment in lieu of annual leave.