COVID-19 Public Sector Support


COVID-19 Transition out of Lockdown Updates

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. 

The below FAQs relate to the Circuit-Break Lockdown (from 12.01am Tuesday 29 June - to 12.01am Saturday 3 July, 2021). The Union is awaiting further information from Government Sector Labour Relations to address the next phase of restrictions. Please check back regularly for updates.

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

Important documents:

2021
2020

 

COVID-19 FAQs

How does this 4-day June-July 2021 lockdown impact me in my workplace?

On 28 June 2021 at 8pm, the McGowan government announced a 4-day lockdown for the Perth and Peel regions beginning at 12.01am Tuesday 29 June, with a tentative end date of 12.01am Saturday 3 July. This followed a confirmed case in WA where the source of infection was the Bondi NSW outbreak involving the Delta strain, and a further two cases in the community announced 28 June.

During this period of lockdown, the workforce direction from the government is that public sector employees are required to work from home unless they are an essential worker as determined by their employer in accordance with the definition on WA.gov.au. These employees are required to attend work as usual, unless there are extenuating circumstances agreed by their employer.

If you are not an essential worker and are unable to work from home for a reason including the nature of the work, family responsibilities, or inability to access technology or appropriate equipment. Circular 7/2021 states; 'To support employees who are not working from home and are not essential workers during the lockdown period, public sector employers are to pay all employees the amount they would otherwise have been entitled to be paid.'

Circular 7/2021 outlines Public sector workforce arrangements between 29 June and 2 July 2021. 

Public sector employees should regularly check the exposure sites as listed on the HealthyWA website and get tested as required, including if they feel unwell with any of the known symptoms of COVID-19.

Circular 6/2020 outlines the workplace flexibilities in place for testing, quarantine, and self-isolation.

I'm not an essential worker, but my employer is saying I can't work from home. What steps should I take?

Only essential workers can be directed to return to work. If you are a non-essential worker, your Employer should provide you with the capabilities to complete your work from home. This may involve you completing your Employers relevant work from home application.

If your Employer cannot provide you with the ability to work from home, Circular 7/2021 states the following:
'To support employees who are not working from home and are not essential workers during the lockdown period, public sector employees are to pay all employees the amount they would otherwise have been entitled to be paid (including allowances and penalties).'

If you are not an essential worker and your Employer is requiring you to come into work. You should;
1. Provide them with a copy of Circular 7/2021
2. Request that they confirm that you are a non-essential worker; And
3. Request that they provide you with their direction in writing.

If you have followed the steps above and your request for remote work has been denied, please email us at [email protected] with the subject line 'WFH Application denied'.

I am not an essential worker, but I can't work from home due to difficulties arising from the 4-day lockdown. Am I required to take leave?

Circular 7/2021 has put a range of measures for public sector employees during this period of lockdown from 12.01am 29 June 2021 - 12.01am 3 July 2021.

Public sector employees are required to work from home, unless they are essential workers as determined by their employer in accordance with the definition on WA.gov.au. These employees are required to attend work as usual, unless there are extenuating circumstances agreed by their employer.

Public sector employees who are working from home or who are essential workers are to be paid according to usual arrangements.

If you are not an essential worker and are unable to work from home for a reason including the nature of the work, family responsibilities, or inability to access technology or appropriate equipment. Circular 7/2021 states; 'To support employees who are not working from home and are not essential workers during the lockdown period, public sector employers are to pay all employees the amount they would otherwise have been entitled to be paid.'

Circular 7/2021 goes on to state; 'To support employees who are not able to work from home and are not essential workers during the lockdown period, public sector employers are to pay all employees the amount they would otherwise have been entitled to be paid (including allowances and penalties).'

Public sector employees are not required to access any form of leave, including COVID-19 leave, to cover absences from work during the lockdown period, except if they are already on leave, or with leave approved to commence during the lockdown period. In those circumstances, employees are to remain or proceed on that leave unless the employer agrees to reverse the leave booking. There should be no expectation that extended leave will be reversed unless there are convincing operational reasons."

Reference: Government Sector Labour Relations' Circular 7/2021 - Public sector workforce arrangements between 29 June and 2 July 2021.

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. If the testing is due to a public exposure site, the employee will be required to quarantine for a full 14 days 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.

Circular 6/2020 provides guidance on employees who are required to self-isolate or need to access COVID-19 for testing purposes. It states;
'Employees subject to a Government requirement to self-isolate while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test (other than a test required in connection with self-quarantine) may access COVID-19 leave if they cannot work remotely.

Employees may access COVID-19 leave for COVID-19 testing or self-isolating awaiting test results even if they have already used the 20 days of COVID Leave.

An employee accessing COVID-19 leave for testing of awaiting test results must access personal leave or sick leave for any absence from work due to sickness before presenting for testing or after receiving the results.'

View the full circular.

As per Circular 7/2021, during the current lockdown 28 June - 1 July 2021. Public sector employees are not required to access any form of leave, including COVID-19 leave, to cover absences from work during the lockdown period. Unless they are already on a period of approved leave, unless the employer agrees to reverse it.

Public exposure sites are listed on the HealthyWA website.