Your rights and responsibilities

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Public Sector

Last updated 20 March 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

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. The entitlements you can use will depend on when you made your travel plans and the date you returned from overseas.

The Federal Government released a new policy, outlining that all overseas travellers returning to Australia from midnight Sunday 15 March 2020 will have to isolate for a period of 14 days.

On 18 March 2020, 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. Click here to access the Determination

The Determination provides that for staff returning from overseas and required to self-isolate, the period of self-isolation will be deemed as Special Leave with Pay for COVID-19 if your travel arrangements were made prior to the Government’s directive.

From Sunday 15 March, staff electing to travel overseas for personal reasons will need to factor in the isolation period as part of any leave plans. If you choose to travel, 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.

A. Your employer might need to adopt different ways of working in order to respond to the rapidly changing environment as a result of COVID19. As such, employees may be required to undertake different duties for a period of time, commensurate with the employee’s qualifications, training, skills and classification level.

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.

In these circumstances, employers should consult with employees in accordance with their consultation obligations under the relevant enterprise agreement.

The South Australian Commissioner for Public Sector Employment 3.1 Employment Conditions - Hours of Work, Overtime, and Leave: Supplementary Provisions for COVID-19 provides that where employees are not providing frontline or critical services, or cannot be gainfully employed at their normal place of work, or cannot work remotely from home or at another office, such employees may be temporarily required to work in another role within the agency or sector pursuant to relevant legislative provisions.

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 this 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. 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 by emailing to get further advice.

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 really 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 as per above.

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.

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. On 22 March 2020, the South Australian Government issued a direction effective immediately that all people entering South Australia will have to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.

In the first instance, we would encourage members to discuss working from home options with their manager. If working from home is not practicable, then members can apply for Special Leave with Pay.

For further information on self-isolation visit the SA Health website.

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.