WA introduces ‘COVID-19 leave’ for public servants

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday March 17, 2020


Western Australian public sector workers will be able to access “COVID-19 leave” in a bid by the government to ensure a safe work environment and reduce the spread of the virus.

Up to 20 days’ leave will be available to all public sector employees whose paid personal, carer’s, or sick leave entitlements are exhausted. This will not affect an employee’s annual leave or long service leave.

The COVID-19 paid leave will also be available to casual public sector staff, and is directed at employees who:

  • have contracted the virus themselves,
  • who have to self-isolate,
  • need to care for a dependant who has the virus or because of school closure or disruption to other care arrangements, or
  • cannot attend work because of transport or other disruptions.

Premier and Public Sector Management Minister Mark McGowan said that while there is “no current evidence” that public servants are being financially disadvantaged by needing to take leave without pay, this could change as the virus spreads, “primarily on employees with low personal or sick leave credits, and casual employees”.

He said the new leave arrangements would give workers “peace-of-mind in knowing there is paid leave available to them, should they need to self-isolate”.

Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said it was “vital” that those displaying symptoms don’t feel pressure to continue to work, particularly due to financial concerns.

“This is a responsible arrangement that will ensure workers’ health is prioritised and we continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community,” he said.

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