Saturday, June 15, 2024

Advice Line set up for employers with coronavirus questions

Employsure’s Advice Line is feeling the pressure with more than 25% of calls relating to coronavirus outbreak, as employers are striving to take the safest path for their employees.

Potential business shutdowns, advice on isolating staff who have travelled through high-risk areas, and leave entitlements top the list of employer concerns.

Due to the spike in calls, Employsure has set up a dedicated coronavirus Advice Line for its clients, which has already surpassed more than 300 calls per day. This number is expected to increase after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak as pandemic, and Australia feels the pinch of isolation and quarantine measures.

“There’s certainly some trends emerging in the type of information employers are looking for,” says Employsure’s Managing Director, Ed Mallett.

“They want to know what to do in the event that one of their staff members is diagnosed with coronavirus. They also want to understand their obligations should they have to shut down their business. Employee leave entitlements is a common question as employers brace for a situation where they have employees who have to self isolate.”

Mr Mallett explains, “Our primary advice to employers is that if they have staff who are presenting as sick, or who are diagnosed with coronavirus, normal personal leave entitlements will apply. However, if you are forcing an employee to self isolate who doesn’t meet the criteria for self isolation and who hasn’t returned from a higher risk area, the employer will need to cover the cost of that leave.”

“There are provisions in the Fair Work Act to cover the worst-case scenario of a government mandated shut down. Your employees will be not required to come to work and they will receive leave without pay. If you have the cash flow you can consider paying out entitlements such as annual leave however you have no obligation to do so.

“Australia’s workplace relations system is complicated enough. Navigating it through a pandemic takes it to whole other level. But we’re here to help.”

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