Pandemic Leave and Annual Leave at Half Pay: 99 Awards Varied 9 April 2020
Today the Fair Work Commission have varied 99 modern awards (full list at the end of this article) to insert a new Schedule – ‘Additional measures during the COVID-19 pandemic’.
This provides an entitlement to unpaid ‘pandemic leave’ and the flexibility to take twice as much annual leave at half pay.
‘Pandemic leave’ means an employee is now entitled to take up to two weeks’ unpaid leave if they are required, by government or medical authorities or acting on the advice of a medical practitioner, to self-isolate and are consequently prevented from working, or are otherwise prevented from working by measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some important things to note are:
- The grant of leave is up to two weeks and as such may be shorter.
- The leave must commence before 30 June 2020.
- An employer can request evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that the leave is taken for a reason given in the clause.
- An employer may agree to give an employee more unpaid pandemic leave but is not required to.
Separately the awards were also varied to allow an employee to take double annual leave at half pay.
If you’d like some advice or assistance in regards to Award changes or your obligations as an Employer please dont hesitate to reach out to us.
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