Employers cannot stop employees from going on holidays. However, they should have in place a clear policy about what happens if an employee goes on a holiday and then is required to self-quarantine when they return.
In 2020 a number of modern awards were amended to include some additional entitlements to address the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace. While the additional entitlements in some of the awards ended on 31 December 2020, there are still a number of awards which still have the relief until March, or in same cases June, 2021.
Full-time, Part-time and casual employees who are employed under one of these awards can access up to 2 weeks of unpaid pandemic leave (or more by agreement with their employer) if they can’t work:
- because they need to self-isolate in line with government or medical authorities, or on the advice of a medical practitioner, or
- because of measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the pandemic (for example, an enforceable government direction closing non-essential businesses).
Employers need to ensure they are familiar with the currently provisions of any applicable award to make sure they are compliant. A workplace policy covering this situation should also set out the your expectations of employees in relation to:
- checking potential hotspots when booking travel to minimise the risk of having to quarantine
- expectations about working from home during quarantine
- any measures the employee is expected to take prior to returning to the workplace, for example providing evidence of a negative COVID test.
How can we help?
If you have any questions about managing your team through these unique sitautions, please do not hesitate to contact our Business Services team on 02 6285 8000 or by email.