By Beatrice Thomas

Confused about WA's COVID rules? Our experts answer your most frequently asked questions. 

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What do we need to do in the event of a lockdown? 

This will depend on the Public Health Orders and requirements issued by the WA State Government at the time of the lockdown. Each lockdown is different and as such the rules regarding who is permitted to attend the workplace may also change.

When are my employees required to have their third dose of the vaccine? 

In accordance with the Booster Vaccination (Restrictions on Access) Directions (No.2), if you are unsure of your specific employee’s requirement to obtain a third dose, you can contact the Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 for further assistance.

I have an employee that hasn’t been vaccinated, can I terminate? 

If a WA State Government Group 1 or Group 2 Public Health Order applies to your business and the specific employee, you may be in a position to terminate employees who are not willing to get vaccinated if you comply with all procedural fairness steps required. If you have confirmed that a Public Health Order applies to the specific employee, Members are encouraged to review CCIWA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Guides and Templates via the following link or contact the Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660. If a Public Health Order does not apply to your situation, then you should seek further advice before taking any action.

An employee has been told their children have to isolate, what leave are they entitled to? 

If an employee is required to care for their children who are directed to isolate due to COVID-19, they will be entitled to take annual leave in the first instance. If their child subsequently contracts COVID-19, the employee is then able to take carer’s leave for the duration of the illness of their child.

Who does the booster mandate apply to? 

The Booster Vaccination (Restrictions on Access) Directions (No.2) apply to Group 1 and Group 2 industries and occupations. If your business falls under Group 3, please contact the Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 to discuss.

What do we do if one of our employees contracts COVID-19? 

It is recommended you contact the Department of Health in the first instance to ensure compliance with any isolation requirements, and any further actions you may need to take.

Can we request a negative test result before allowing them to return to work? Do we need evidence that an employee is recovered from COVID-19? If so, what does it look like? 

If your employee has been absent from work due to COVID-19, you can request reasonable evidence to confirm they are now fit to return to work. Evidence may include confirmation from the relevant government authorities. If you are unsure as to whether the evidence that has been provided to you is suitable, it is recommended you contact the COVID hotline on 13 26843.

Our employee has been deemed a close contact and needs to isolate. Are we still required to pay them? 

If an employee is a close contact, is directed to isolate and they are unable to work from home, they will be required to use paid entitlements (such as annual leave or long service leave) or unpaid leave during their period of isolation. If the employee is able to work from home during their isolation period, the employer will be required to pay them for the ordinary hours worked.

Our employee is required to isolate, can they use paid personal/carer’s leave? 

No. An employee is only entitled to use their paid personal/carer's leave entitlement in the event the employee contracts COVID-19 or suffers another illness. Where the employee does not have any paid personal/carer's leave, they may take unpaid leave or access other paid leave entitlements (such as annual leave or long service leave). Members covered by a modern award should check whether their employees are entitled to unpaid pandemic leave.

My employee has been required to isolate, will they be eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment – Western Australia? 

Where an employee is directed to isolate due to COVID-19, they may be entitled to the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment – Western Australia. Services Australia will determine whether or not and employee is eligible for the payment. For more information visit Services Australia. Employees may also be eligible for the State Government COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment, for more information see.

For more advice and resources see CCIWA COVID-19 Support.

For general advice on your individual situation call CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or via [email protected].  

For legal advice specific to your situation, contact our team of Workplace Relations lawyers on (08) 9365 7746 or via [email protected]. 

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