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New pandemic leave proposed to support employees


On 1 April 2020, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) announced that it proposes to vary 103 awards to insert a new Schedule X – Additional measures during the COVID-19 pandemic under section 57 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

The FWC plans to introduce two weeks unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility for millions of workers so that they can keep their jobs amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Proposed changes

Unpaid pandemic leave

This period of unpaid pandemic leave will provide casual employees with protection if they are exposed to the virus and required to stay away from the workplace.

The proposed entitlement will support the important public policy objective of encouraging those who should self-isolate to do so and limit the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces, allowing businesses to continue to operate.

Annual leave at half pay

This would allow employees to take twice their accrued annual leave but be paid only 50% of their normal weekly wage for each week of leave.

The proposed changes would last until 30 June.

The FWC  issued a statement expressing provisional views and inviting submissions to give feedback on the proposed changes, with a hearing scheduled for next Wednesday, and a final decision after that.

Submissions are due by 4 pm, Monday 6 April - Need help?

Need advice on making a submission or how to manage COVID-19 in your workplace? Contact us here and a Mapien Consultant will be in touch within 24 hours!