The special leave we fought for and when you are entitled to take it 

16 November 2022

As another wave of the pandemic hits South Australia, it is important nurses and midwives who have contracted COVID-19 know their rights. 

SA Health staff are entitled to paid special leave if they have been directed not to attend work because they have tested positive. 

SA Health has suspended the need for staff to access their sick leave until further notice. 

Following the lifting of the state-wide 7-day isolation requirement on 14 October 2022, SA Health had issued a directive to its own staff, directing them not to attend their workplace for 7 days following a positive COVID-19 test.  

The ANMF (SA Branch) argued that this was unfair and succeeded in securing an interim agreement that staff directed not to attend work after testing positive would receive paid special leave and not be required to take their sick leave or other accrued leave.  

ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM said it was important that nurses and midwives were supported during this latest wave of infections. 
“It is disappointing to hear that some employers are still unaware of these interim measures and are requesting nurses and midwives, who have tested positive to COVID-19, to take sick leave,” Ms Dabars 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.” 

The ANMF (SA Branch) will be taking all action necessary to ensure paid special leave for members continues beyond this interim period. 

Any SA Health 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