HACSU has been asked to comment on Service Update No. 8/2020 COVID-19 Special Leave that was issued last Thursday by James McManus but left people with a few questions - with some of the info being contrary to the outcomes negotiated between HACSU and the State Service Management Office.
If Ambulance Tasmania sends you home because of an expected exposure to COVID-19 it's done so on full pay, no leave required, and you get tested and when negative you follow public health’s advice about returning to work.
If you have symptoms you mustn't go to work or go out in public and you need to inform work and contact public health. As healthcare workers it's our view that symptoms are work related - you shouldn't be using personal leave and should be paid normally while on pandemic leave.
If public health tells you to get a COVID test, you stay on pandemic leave until the results are back, and when cleared by public health to return to work if you test negative you can only return to work when you no longer have symptoms. If you continue to have symptoms because it’s a cold etc then it becomes personal leave, but please don't go to work with a cold.
If you test positive for COVID-19
If positive you must follow public health advice about quarantine/isolation and inform your employer, get medical treatment as needed, and it's likely additional testing will be required later. You’ll then have to work out whether you got it from transmission at work or in the community, and if you suspect from work then you should make a workers compensation claim.
To make a workers compensation claim you should get advice from us first, and definitely don't be talked out of making a claim by a manager or other workers because in a worst-case scenario your family could get death benefits from the workers comp system. The employer or insurer may insist you didn't get it from work so the paperwork must be done right, including the details on the workers compensation certificate you get from your doctor.
Your work environment is vast, and transmission could be from contact with a confirmed or suspected case, from visiting a worksite such as an aged care facility with a cluster, from visiting a hospital, from contact with other healthcare workers or from visiting a home or a motor vehicle accident.
Information for workers
To make a workers compensation claim you must be diagnosed with COVID-19 and your employment must have contributed to a substantial degree. You should provide evidence of pathology testing confirming your diagnosis.
Confirmation about COVID Special Leave - only applies to public sector workers
The pandemic leave should be automatically approved if public health tells you to enter isolation or quarantine. If you have no personal leave credits but are symptomatic after a negative COVID test result you should get leave on account of COVID-19 approved in lieu of accessing personal leave
If you have any questions please contact your delegate or call HACSUassist on 1300 800 032.