COVID-19 Public Sector Support


COVID-19 Lockdown and Post-Lockdown Transition

Western Australians look to the public sector to provide certainty and leadership. We are continuing to work with the government and public sector leaders on your behalf to maximise your health and safety as you go about the important business of making WA work. 

Bookmark and check this page regularly for rolling updates and FAQs for members during the lockdown period (Friday 23 April - to midnight Monday 26 April, 2021).

We also encourage all members to regularly check the wa.gov.au COVID-19 Coronavirus Information page for official notices.

Important documents:

 

COVID-19 FAQs

Can I work from home this week?

During the transition out of lockdown for the next 4 days from 12.01am Tuesday 27th April - 12.01am Saturday 1st May (the "interim restriction period") public sector employees can return to work, unless the employee is able to work from home or is at higher than usual risk. Any public sector employee who is required to be in the workplace is expected to attend.

If you are able to work from home and you wish to do so, or you have a health vulnerability that places you at greater risk, you should contact your employer to arrange interim work from home arrangements.

A special arrangement is in place for public sector employees who cannot work from home and also cannot attend their workplaces because of the restrictions in place. This will include employees whose workplaces remain closed under the restrictions and employees with medical advice that they are at higher than usual risk who are unable to work from home. Public sector employees who are unable to work from home and who cannot attend their workplaces because of restrictions in place are to be paid the amount they would otherwise have been entitled to be paid (including allowances and penalties).

Reference: Government Sector Labour Relations' Circular 5/2021 - Short term workforce arrangements for week of 26 April 2021

Do I have to wear a mask at work during this 4 day period? Does my employer need to provide me with a mask?

Under the current interim restriction period in place until 12.01am Saturday 1 May, every citizen is required to wear a mask in public and while at work, in both indoor and outdoor settings. Exemptions apply for vigorous exercise outdoors and children 12 years old and under.

While employers may choose to provide additional masks to their workforce, each person has the responsibility to provide their own mask and comply with the direction. If they are required to have more extensive PPE, this is the responsibility of the employer.

If an employee is medically exempt from wearing a mask, their medical circumstances may also support work from home arrangements during the interim restriction period. Employees should contact their direct supervisor to negotiate appropriate working arrangements to accommodate their medical needs. Your union delegate may be able to assist you with appealing work from home arrangements that have been declined in these circumstances.

What happens if I need to get tested and self-isolate or self-quarantine? Am I entitled to COVID-19 leave?

Public sector employees who have symptoms or attended one of the affected locations at the time specified must have a COVID-19 test immediately and self-isolate at home until they receive a negative result.

Additionally, if an employee was at one of the affected restaurant locations, during the specified time, the staff member must get tested and complete the full 14 days of self-quarantine regardless of their test result. The 14-day period commences from the date and time of last potential exposure. If you have not yet been contacted by Public Health Operations please call 13 COVID (13 26843). Public Health Operations will provide guidance on testing and quarantine requirements.

The affected locations are listed on the HealthyWA website.

Employees may be entitled to COVID-19 leave for reasons as outlined in Circular 6 (2020, updated February 2021), including:
- Employees subject to a government requirement to self-isolate while awaiting test results for COVID-19 (if they cannot work from home);
- Employees subject to a government requirement to self-quarantine due to being a close contact of a confirmed case (if they cannot work from home);
- Employees subject to a government requirement to self-quarantine following work-related travel (if they cannot work from home);
- Employees who are caring for a person in self-isolation who has no carers leave entitlements;
- If an employee is ill, clause 2 of Circular 6 will apply and personal leave must first be exhausted. An employee who has no personal or sick leave entitlements can access COVID-19 leave if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

I was rostered to work over the long weekend, but couldn't work due to difficulties arising from the 3 day lockdown restrictions. Will I still get paid?

During the recent 3 day lockdown period effective between 12:01am on 24 April 2021 and 12:01am on 27 April 2021, Circular 4 put a range of measures in place for public sector employees who were rostered to work during that period.

Public sector employees rostered to work during that period were required to attend work as rostered. If able to perform that work remotely, they were permitted to do so. If employees were not able to work during this period due to extenuating circumstances, they needed to make alternative arrangements with their employer.

Public sector employees rostered to work during the lockdown period but who were unable to attend work or work from home are to be paid the amount they would otherwise have been entitled to be paid (including allowances and penalties). The amount is to be calculated according
to the employee’s rostered hours for the lockdown period.

Employees already on leave, or with leave approved to commence during the lockdown period, were required to remain or proceed on that leave unless the employer agreed to reverse the booking. There should be no expectation that leave will be reversed without convincing operational reasons.

Reference: Government Sector Labour Relations' Circular 4 - Short-term workforce arrangements for ANZAC Day long weekend