The ASU is by your side every step of the way - this information is for ASU members and delegates regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic.
WHAT IS COVID-19?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus in the same family as the common cold. According to Australia’s Health Department, people with coronavirus may experience fever, flu-like symptoms and shortness of breath.
EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND SAFETY
COVID-19 is a health and safety risk for employees. Employers have obligations to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees and others.
Delegates should use the Coronavirus Workplace Checklist to ensure the safety of their workplace.
To find out more about the obligations employers have, download our full COVID-19 factsheet for ASU members.
Some older employees, or employees with immune suppression disorders may be at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. In the event of an outbreak in Australia these employees should carefully consider their need to attend work and take the necessary precautions to avoid exposure.
For all the information about your work and Coronavirus, download the ASU COVID-19 Factsheet.
Full and part-time employees who can’t come to work because they are diagnosed with COVID-19 can take paid personal/carer’s leave.
Casual employees and independent contractors do not receive pay when they are not at work including when they are sick.
Employers should therefore consider specific measures to support casual employees and other insecure employees who are impacted by COVID-19 including the provision of paid “special leave”.
Frontline NDIS workers
On Saturday 21 March the Federal Government has made new announcements about COVID-19 and the NDIS.
These announcements do not respond to the urgent demands we put to Government last week about greater access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for the disability sector. The Government has also not supported our call to guarantee that no disability worker to go without pay because of COVID-19 (due to isolation, or client cancellation or illness).
However the additional supports and funding they are giving NDIS services should be used by services to ensure workers continue to be employed and paid throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
On Thursday 19 March we held a special briefing for ASU members working in the NDIS. You can watch the live recording of the conference here- the presentation starts at time 00:11:40. All information is accurate at Thursday 19 March 2020.
People with Disability and their families cannot be left alone to fight COVID-19. The Australian Services Union, National Disability Services, Health Services Union and the United Workers Union have developed a joint statement on the impacts of this crisis on NDIS participants and workforce, and call on the Government to take action.
Qantas Group Employees
Qantas Group has announced on 19 March that they will commence the stand-down of employees across the Group. This provides for stand-down without pay and means that staff remain employed but not required to attend work. Employees who are not stood-down will be required to do their normal duties. The ASU is urgently discussing every available option to keep jobs safe through this crisis.
Funding for Community organisations
ACOSS and the ASU are calling on the Government to support the community sector to respond to the COVID-19 health, social and economic crisis with these community sector rescue package recommendations.
On March 18, 2020 the ASU sent this letter to the NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Gareth Ward.
We have written demanding that additional funding is provided to community organisations for special leave for any workers impacted by COVID-19. The Government already provides 20 days of special leave to its own employees. They must now also provide this to organisations providing support to the community.
If you have questions on concerns about your health and safety at work, leave entitlements and job security, or any work related issue, don’t hesitate to contact us on 02 9310 4000. You can also book a time for us to call you that is best for you.