Private health employee information for COVID-19
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association is providing support and advice to any members seeking information regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Ensure you’re covered at work by joining the NSWNMA.
The Commonwealth Department of Health website contains detailed guidance for health sector workers and is updated regularly.
If members are concerned their employer is not following these guidelines, the NSWNMA can provide assistance to ensure appropriate measures are in place. Contact us.
Some employers offering leave assistance for COVID-19
You can request your employer to provide their relevant COVID-19 leave policy. If you need further assistance, contact the Association.
Check out our Private Health Sector Webinar- COVID-19 and Leave Entitlements Webinar below.
Administration of COVID-19 vaccine
To access FAQs on administering COVID-19 vaccines, click here.
Close contact and isolation
If you are a close contact and cannot work due to isolation requirements, you should in the first instance, consult management or your human resources department to find out if it has a policy for special leave for COVID-19 isolation. As some employers do have a policy to provide discretionary special leave in these circumstances.
If your employer does not provide special leave, then you should be granted access to any paid leave you have accrued to minimise the financial burden on you.
Please note that if you are well and do not have symptoms, then you may not be eligible to access sick leave (personal leave).
Please make sure you contact the Association if there is any issue with accessing your paid leave.
If you have to provide care for a family member who has COVID-19 or to a child due to the closure of a school or day care facility, then you might be eligible for personal/carer’s leave under your award or enterprise agreement.
If you’re unsure, ask your employer for access to a copy of the award or enterprise agreement applicable to you.
If you need assistance or further clarification please contact the Association.
Leave due to COVID-19 positive test
If you have symptoms or are unwell for any reason, including COVID-19, then sick leave (personal leave) is the appropriate form of leave.
Please read on about workers compensation rights.
If you have contracted COVID-19 and transmission is likely to have occurred in the workplace, you are entitled to make a claim for workers compensation. There is currently a law in place that health workers are presumed to have contracted the virus at work or while working (something the NSW Government is trying to overturn), it should be workers compensation. Whilst you may be placed on sick leave initially, this should be recredited when your workers compensation claim is accepted.
For advice on what steps to take if you believe you are eligible for workers’ compensation, please read the Workers Compensation section found on this page.
You may also be eligible for the Australian Government’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or the NSW Government’s Test and Isolate Support Payment. You cannot receive both payments for the same period. Please follow the links to view information about the payments including eligibility criteria.
The isolation exemption signed by the NSW Health Minister is to be followed as per the below description from NSW Health:
An exemption is in place for staff of public health organisations and licensed private health facilities whose absence from the workplace has been identified by their employer as a critical risk to safe service delivery to patients and who has been identified by the employer as being unable to work from home.
The exemption permits the worker to leave self-isolation subject to certain conditions, including wearing a mask, travelling directly to and from work and complying with any risk mitigation strategies put in place by the employer.
If the worker has any symptoms of COVID-19, they must immediately seek a PCR test and not attend work until they have a negative result.
If you work for a private health facility; are currently isolating as a close contact; are asymptomatic; and are directed by your employer to attend work in full compliance with the above, you must attend work. However, if you believe your employer is directing you to work in breach of the above conditions, please contact the Association immediately.
The NSWNMA is providing assistance to members to ensure appropriate measures are in place in relation to COVID-19. Contact us here if you need support.
Casual employees generally do not have the leave entitlements available to them that permanent employees have. If you’re a casual employee and required to self-isolate then your employer should consider standing you down on pay for any rostered shifts, although you are unlikely to have a legal right to the payment of wages for this time. Particular regard should be given by your employer to the length of your employment and whether you work on a regular and systematic basis.
If your employer has directed you not to attend work for reasons related to COVID-19 and you have not been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or returned from overseas travel, then please contact NSWNMA for assistance.
Unfortunately employees in the private sector are not automatically entitled to the 20 days special leave made available by the NSW Government to its employees.
The above is intended as general information only and the advice in relation to each case will depend on its particular circumstances.
The NSWNMA will continue to provide further updates for members as we receive them. Contact us here.
Current Industrial Instruments