ANMF (SA Branch) protects your sick leave in pandemic management shake-up 

27 October 2022

Due to ANMF (SA Branch) advocacy, nurses and midwives will not be required to access their own sick leave if they test positive to COVID-19 and are directed not to attend their workplace for seven days. 

Last week, SA Health met with unions to discuss the end of the emergency management directions, and the impact of moving COVID-19 management  to a WHS framework.   

As a result, each employer will now develop their own policy and procedures on how to manage COVID-19 related issues.  

SA Health had previously informed the unions that anyone who tested positive would be required to access their personal carers leave. 

But the ANMF (SA Branch) position was made very clear that given isolation requirements are now to be employer determined (and not based on specific legislative direction), that an employee must be paid for time that they are directed to remain absent from work when they are fit to work.   

Due to our agitation, SA Health announced it would suspend the need for staff to access their personal carers leave pending further discussions with unions. 

As an interim measure, it also agreed that staff who are directed not to attend work for the seven-day isolation period because they have tested positive would receive paid special leave and will not be required to take sick leave. 

ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM said she was pleased SA Health had listened to our concerns.  

“Nurses and midwives should not be forced to take sick leave when their employer has forced them to stay home from work,” she said. 

“Our position is there is a difference between testing positive and being sick and unable to work. With other infectious diseases you are not considered unfit for work just on testing positive to a virus or other infection.   

“We will continue to take all action necessary to ensure paid special leave for members continues beyond this interim period.” 

Any members required by their employer to take their sick leave after testing positive to COVID-19 should contact the ANMF (SA Branch) through Member Assist.