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Employee and Industrial Relations information and advice

ACSA's Employee Relations team has provided clarification of recommendations regarding managing your employees in the context of COVID-19, which you can read here (updated 18 March 2020). Please note, ACSA will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation as it develops and will supply updated information for employers as appropriate.

 

An information sheet has been compiled by the Department of Health regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) information on work attendance and testing for health and residential aged care workers, which you can read here.

 

Retention bonus for residential aged care and home care workers - further information

1 April: Further to the Department of Health’s 31 March 2020 daily COVID-19 update, ACSA sought clarification from the Department areound the retention bonus and has received a response. Read more

 

Modern Award Variations: Unpaid pandemic leave and ability to take additional accrued annual leave at half pay by agreement

1 April: Please see attached a statement made by the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission today - ACSA's Employee Relations team are currently working through the detail. The statement covers a swathe of awards and includes Aged Care, SCHDS, Nurses and HPSS. It is proposed the FWC will insert a schedule (Schedule X) to the awards which will temporarily:

1. Provide all employees (including full-time, part-time and casual employees) with a new entitlement of up to 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave; and

2. Provide for employees by agreement with their employer to take twice the amount of their accrued annual leave at half pay.

Please refer to Variation of awards on the initiative of the Commission for more information and background. The Commission is seeking submissions supporting or opposing the provisional view by 4:00pm, Monday 6 April.

We will keep you informed regarding any Aged Care/Home Care specific issues which might be dealt with through an application to vary an award.

 

 

JobKeeper payment - information for employers and employees

31 March: The JobKeeper Payment is a temporary scheme open to businesses impacted by the Coronavirus. The JobKeeper Payment will also be available to the self-employed. The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months. 
 
Employers (including non-for-profits) will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • Their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
  • Their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
  • The business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

 
Employers must elect to participate in the scheme. They will need to make an application to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and provide supporting information demonstrating a downturn in their business. In addition, employers must report the number of eligible employees employed by the business on a monthly basis.
 
The subsidy will start on 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May. Businesses will be able to register their interest in participating in the Payment from 30 March 2020 on the ATO website.

Click here to download the JobKeeper fact sheets or visit the Treasury website for more information.

 

Evidence of Employment within an essential service

26 March: ACSA would like to thank Wintringham for sharing their letter to be used as proforma for other members and employers of aged care employees. Please download the proforma letter for you to use to issue to your employees to keep with them should they need it to confirm their role and employment in the aged care sector. Download proforma

 

Relaxation of student visa work

On 18 March 2020, the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, and the Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, jointly announced that providers of Commonwealth funded aged care services will temporarily be able to offer more hours to international students to ensure the care of senior and vulnerable Australians, as part of the campaign to combat the impact of coronavirus (COVID‑19).  Please review this ‘Letter of Comfort’ from the Department of Home Affairs which outlines this arrangement.

For further information about this temporary measure and what you need to do, please contact the Department of Home Affairs on 131 881 or email SVCR@homeaffairs.gov.au.

 

Other resources

You can access information from Fair Work Australia specifically relating to workplacefairwork-1024x412.jpg entitlements and obligations if you're affected by an outbreak of COVID-19 on the Fair Work website.

 

Business Australia (formerly New South Wales Business Chamber) has developed a NSWBC_APMO_Australia_Black_RGB.pngfantastic COVID-19 resource and employer toolkit which has been made available to the public. You can access it here

Business Australia is on hand with a range of resources to help employers, sole traders and non-employing businesses with practical free advice and information to help them navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

 

 

 

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For more information, you can:

  • Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Visit the Department of Health website.
  • Contact ACSA's Member Support Line on 1300 877 855 or email memberadvice@acsa.asn.au.

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