AT COVID-19 leave and symptom management

Posted on
December 8, 2021

Leave payment inconsistencies

HACSU continues to get reports from members about inconsistencies in how they’re paid when they have flu or cold-like symptoms.

We share concerns that opening the state border could bring significant risk of COVID-19 infection for members so here’s some information about how pandemic leave can be accessed in common scenarios. If your case doesn’t fit these situations, or you’re diagnosed with COVID-19, contact your union delegate or HACSU directly.

The State Service Management Office website has info about leave due to COVID-19, including a link to a spread sheet of common scenarios, and the following examples extend upon those.

Unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19:

Don’t attend work when you’re so unwell with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 that you can’t complete your duties. In this situation usual sick leave provisions apply. Get a COVID-19 test and notify your duty manager. A medical certificate or statutory declaration is acceptable evidence. On a stat dec include dates and nature of the illness (ie cold/flu symptoms), that the illness was severe enough you couldn’t attend work and why you couldn’t get a medical certificate (ie you were directed to isolate/quarantine or couldn’t get an appointment).

Not unwell but have symptoms consistent with COVID-19:

Even if your symptoms are mild enough that you’d normally go to work, you should be tested for COVID-19, and you’re entitled to pandemic leave while waiting for the result. Notify your manager as soon as you’re tested and when you get the result. You’ll need evidence of the test such as a screenshot of the result or stat dec. If you return a positive result, contact HACSU for advice, but inform your duty manager and comply with public health advice.

If you get a negative test result but symptoms persist, contact your manager early to warn them of your impending absence and on the day of your shift complete the screening tool as honestly as you can. If your symptoms continue the tool will probably direct you to your manager for advice and they’re likely to tell you not to come to work, in which case you’re entitled to pandemic leave.

AT are requesting stat decs in these situations, so include the date you were tested and received a negative test result, the dates you were rostered to work and that you were ready, willing, and able to attend work on those days, and that you were directed not to attend on those days by a manager as you were suffering very mild COVID-19 symptoms.

Pandemic leave form:

While not strictly required we understand a specific pandemic leave form is available to avoid any ambiguity, so use this form when you’re away from work due to COVID-19 symptoms and not intending to claim sick leave.

Requirement to submit forms while isolating:

While you’re isolating the employer must pay you appropriately. We keep hearing from members who aren’t paid because they can’t attend work to complete the required paperwork - this is unacceptable. If you’re unwell over the end of a pay period, ask your manager how you can ensure you receive your full pay. If you don’t get a satisfactory response, contact HACSU asap so we can help.
Workers’ compensation:

Claiming workers compensation because of COVID-19 is possible, as the law says the employer is liable if your employment contributed to your injury at work to a substantial degree, but the workers comp system is difficult so call HACSU if you’ve tested positive and think you were exposed to COVID-19 at work.

Other situations:

There are other situations where a claim for pandemic leave can be made, and this info can be found at the SSMO link above, but if in doubt contact HACSU.

If you think you’ve been unfairly debited sick leave, please talk to your delegate or HACSU.

For more information about this or any other industrial matter, members should contact HACSUassist on 1300 880 032 or email or complete our online contact form