Casual govt employees to get paid COVID-19 leave

The Australian Public Service Commission has extended paid leave to more than 8000 casual employees who may be forced to miss work because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The commission previously advised that permanent government employees diagnosed with COVID-19 should be given access to sick leave to cover their time away from work, and anyone forced to self isolate because of exposure to the virus, or in a household affected by coronavirus, should be paid discretionary leave if they were unable to work from home.

The CPSU’s Melissa Donnelly claims victory over paid leave for casual employees.

In a circular issued on Tuesday the APSC extended the provision to casual employees, saying it was aimed at preventing them from going to work against medical advice.

“Due to the current extraordinary circumstances of the outbreak and the potential widespread impact, paid arrangements should also be extended to casual employees who are required to isolate due to COVID-19 exposure or who contract the virus,” the APSC says.

The commission says payment should be determined by agreed or accepted shifts that would have been done during the period of absence, or on the basis of previous or upcoming shifts.

Work from home options should also be considered for casuals where possible.

“This exceptional measure is in place for the duration of the pandemic until advised by the Australian Government Department of Health.”

It said government agencies should discuss options with payroll providers to make sure the arrangements could be put in place quickly.

Labour hire and contract workers miss out

However it stopped short of providing paid leave for labour hire workers and contractors, saying that was a matter for the labour hire company concerned.

The public sector union, which has been campaigning for the provision, applauded Tuesday’s announcement.

“We are glad that the APSC has confirmed that all public sector employees will have access paid leave entitlements, including paid miscellaneous leave or work from home arrangements if quarantined,” CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly said.

However she said the union remained concerned about the 23,000 contractors and labour hire workers who have been left in the cold.

“The CPSU is calling on the Morrison Government to ensure that it takes the plight of these 23,000 workers seriously. This is not just a matter of equity; it is about the essential public health response and ensuring government service delivery,” Ms Donnelly said.

The APSC describes COVID-19 as a significant public health issue and says government employers must take a lead in preventing its spread in the community.

However, says “maintaining operations and continuing to serve the community will remain important as we navigate these uncertain times. It will be critical for employees able to attend work to continue to deliver services to the public”.

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10 thoughts on “Casual govt employees to get paid COVID-19 leave

  1. What about casuals who have now lost hours due to trading hours changing? This has happen to me today.

    1. Lost hours in retail to less people shopping
      Not seeing a need to buy clothes as they will most likely be indoors this winter

  2. It is an outrage that public servants without useful employment in this country think they will be taking a holiday at the taxpayer’s expense during this crisis. Those in the private sector will be forced to rely on accrued leave, savings and ultimately the dole queue to put food on their family’s table and a roof over their heads. Public servants who are unable to perform verifiable useful work from home are clearly NOT essential to the running of this country and if they have no leave available they should be stood down without pay like everyone else. There will be riots in the streets if public servants are seen to be taking advantage of their fellow Australians in this way during a national emergency. Be warned.

    1. Calm down. As a Public Servant who works for the Government I know that we set the standards for the Private Sector. It is us setting the standards for leave entitlements those being annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, family leave. Do you know how many Public Servants there are in NSW, do you know that without us there would be no services at all. We are the bulk of the working class, we are the essential workers, stick with us and you will get a better deal than you can get working for a small private employer.

  3. Next time you visit a museum, gallery, public garden, historic house, or library, have a good look at the people enabling your visit.
    Then ask yourself if they are performing “verifiable useful work” – or are they “not essential to the running of this country.”
    A sector known as “The Arts” exists in this country.
    Instead of railroading us for questioning our entitlements, have a think about THAT.

  4. Hi everyone while there maybe, maybe some valid points in these comments and everyone is entitled to have a viewpoint in this forum, I would suggest that for the greater good at this time that you have a think about the tone you are expressing in your language and be a bit less combative. This does nobody any good

  5. Public servants also include health workers in public hospitals, police, emergency services and educators. We also provide access to all kinds of support services and payments that would not be available to vulnerable people during this challenging time if we didn’t continue to do our jobs in the best way can. Most public servants who can are working from home, those who can’t are accessing leave.

    In addition, the public service is one of the biggest employers of casual workers. These workers are not covered by the new JobKeeper payment. They are amongst those in the growing Centrelink queues.

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