With the shock of yesterday’s announcement about South Australia’s 6 day lock down which has gone into effect today, we feel it’s important for people to have as much information at their disposal as possible.
What is an essential worker?
SAPOL has published the following directive in regards to what is considered an “essential worker”
As at 1:41am on 19/11/20 the following was listed. Please check the above link for the most up to date list though.
A person may leave the home for the purpose of undertaking duties as an essential worker which are classified as those people who perform work which is essential for the continued operation of any of the following operations/businesses;
- a blood bank (including blood collection and delivery);
- air transport (including airports);
- Australian Border Force and Commonwealth law enforcement and intelligence agency services ;
- bottle shop;
- care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, age, infirmity, disability, illness or chronic health;
- childcare, early childhood education, primary/secondary schools;
- consular and diplomatic services;
- distribution centre;
- emergency services being:
- ambulance services;
- firefighting services;
- medical retrieval services (including Royal Flying Doctor Services);
- military and defence services deployed activities in South Australia;
- paramedical services;
- police services;
- state emergency services;
- essential health services;
- essential infrastructure and essential services within the Essential Services Act 1981 (SA);
- factory or facility (only operations which would otherwise cause damage to the plant and equipment);
- financial institution;
- freight services (including postal and courier services);
- hardware store;
- hotel or motel accommodation;
- journalists and media services;
- National Heavy Vehicle Regulator compliance activities
- organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal or premises (e.g. plumbing, Centrelink services and Foodbank);
- pet store or veterinary clinic;
- petrol station;
- post office;
- primary industries (only to ensure adequate supply of food and care of crops and animals);
- production and distribution of food for sale by supermarket/butcher/fruit/vegetable store/fishmonger other than production at a red meat abattoir, liquor sales at a bottle shop and medical and pharmaceutical products;
- public transport (including taxis and other public passenger services)
- state or local government services which are deemed essential by their Chief Executive;
- supermarket, butcher, fruit and vegetable store or fishmonger (but not an indoor or outdoor market);
- truckstops and roadhouses; and
- vehicle repair and mechanical services (including roadside assistance).
Information for Employers
We were given some very useful information from HR Specialist Trish Reaburn – Director of Solutions To Spec in regards to Employer obligations during this Government directed lock down.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION –
HOW TO MANAGE EMPLOYEE REMUNERATION DURING
SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S GOVERNMENT DIRECTED LOCKDOWN
The link below provides very clear guidance on how employees should be remunerated in a situation as that we face right now. https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/other-government-information-assistance/list-of-enforceable-government-directions-during-coronavirus
Some key points:
– This is a Government mandated lockdown due to COVID-19, therefore, employers are able to standdown employees where they are unable to be ‘usefully’ employed, as per the ‘standdown’ provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009.
– The term ‘usefully’ is open to interpretation; however, employers do not have to modify the workplace so that employees can be usefully employed.
o If employees are able to perform work at home, they can and they are then usefully employed.
o A manufacturing employee unable to attend work due to the lockdown conditions who can not perform their work away from the workplace would be considered to be on standdown.
– Employers do not have to pay employees whilst they are on standdown.
– Employees can receive payment if they are working productively, or if they request to take Annual Leave or Long Service Leave.
– Employers cannot force employees to use/take leave entitlements.
– Given the proximity to the traditional Christmas holiday period, employers should remind employees of the impending need to use leave entitlements, which may impact on their use of leave entitlements at this time.
– There may be an option to take paid Sick Leave, however, this is can become problematic and should be an absolute last resort and advice should be sought before such an arrangement is entered into.
– Employees performing work at home or taking paid leave are not considered to be on standdown.
– ALL arrangements for payment during the shutdown period should be in writing – an email is considered appropriate; no leave entitlements should be paid to an employee without a written request from the employee.
– Where businesses continue to be eligible for JobKeeper, they must keep paying JobKeeper to their employees.
– Employers are encouraged to consult and work with employees to find a suitable arrangement during these challenging times.
You may like to inform employees that they may be able to access the South Australian COVID-19 Cluster Isolation Payment which is a single $300 payment to provide financial support to workers in South Australia who are required to self-isolate because of a public health direction from SA Health and mandatory COVID-19 testing, and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
For specific advice and support, please don’t hesitate to call me, 0408-744-827.
19 November 2020
Financial Support For Individuals
The SA government has a page dedicated to covid-19 related individual support which is available. Please check your eligibility for any payments that may apply to your situation.
SA COVID-19 Cluster Isolation Payment – A $300 payment is available to workers in South Australia who are required to self-isolate because of a public health direction from SA Health and mandatory COVID-19 testing, and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment – South Australia – $1500 payment Available to people that have been directed by a health official to self isolate or quarantine for 14 days.
Financial Support For Businesses
The SA State Government announced recently that they are offering the second round of $10,000 payments to eligible businesses that employ staff and are receiving JobKeeper from 28 September 2020. They also announce a $3,000 grant for small businesses that do not employ staff and are receiving JobKeeper from 28 September 2020.
More information can be found here.
As further information comes to hand, we will aim to give further information as soon as possible. Please keep an eye on our social pages for updated information.