Your rights and responsibilities

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Public Sector

Last updated 3 August 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 Duty.Roster@anmfsa.org.au

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. Whether you can be directed to undertake different duties will depend on your employment contract and what has been agreed to in terms of the scope of your duties.

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.

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 it 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 Duty.Roster@anmfsa.org.au 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 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 or state.

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.

Where not practicable or appropriate to offer flexible working arrangements, access will be provided to existing own leave entitlements, including accrued sick/carer’s leave, to take an uncapped number of carer’s leave days. Carer’s leave will be provided to care for dependents who are well, in recognition of the limited alternative care options that are available.

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. If you are entering South Australia from interstate then you may be required to self-isolate. The South Australian Government maintains a list of current travel restrictions on its website available here.

Requirements to self-isolate depend on which state or territory you are entering from, and whether you are considered an essential traveller.

If you are required to self-isolate, in the first instance, we 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.

A.The JobKeeper scheme is a government wage subsidy for employers who are experiencing a significant downturn because of COVID-19. Unfortunately, public sector employers, and therefore their employees, are not eligible for the JobKeeper scheme.

A. For permanent employees:

  • If you are not required in your usual area of work, you may be redeployed elsewhere within your Local Health Network, providing you receive the appropriate orientation and any relevant training.
  • If you are not required anywhere in your LHN, you cannot be forced to take Leave Without Pay, Annual Leave/Long Service Leave* or Personal/Carer’s Leave.
  • You may choose to access this leave.
  • You must be paid your contracted hours unless you access any leave without pay.
    *If you have more than 4 weeks of Annual Leave, you may be directed to access leave as per Human Resources guidelines.

For casual employees:

  • Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of hours. However, the ANMF (SA Branch) is currently urging the Government to mobilise casual workers.
  • The ANMF (SA Branch) encourages you to complete this Survey to help lobby the Government.

A. If you have been tested for COVID-19 because you are unwell, you may use your Personal/Carer’s leave. Your employer may require you to provide a medical certificate to support the taking of this leave.

If you were tested for COVID-19 for another reason, and are otherwise fit for work but are awaiting your test results, talk to your manager about applying for Special Leave with Pay for COVID-19. The revised Determination of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment - 3.1: Employment Conditions – Hours of Work, Overtime and Leave: Supplementary Provisions for COVID-19 provides for Special Leave with Pay for COVID-19, and describes the entitlement as applying to support absences from the worksite or workplace for COVID-19 situations. Please contact the Duty Officer if you need further advice.

A. The Determination of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment – 3.1 provides that the following categories of employees are vulnerable people:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions;
  • People 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions;
  • People 70 years and older; or
  • People with compromised immune systems.

Employers are required to enable self-isolation wherever possible and provide, where appropriate access to working from home arrangements for the above categories of employees. Where those arrangements are not practicable COVID-19 special leave with pay will be applied until exhausted, thereafter employees are able to access their own leave entitlements.

If a vulnerable employee wishes to remain in the workplace they may do so, provided the employer has appropriately assessed any risks and is comfortable they can ensure appropriate observance of any government protocols relating to social distancing.