On this page:
- Leave options for getting a COVID-19 vaccination
- Leave arrangements for employees unable to work from home
- Staff with children undertaking remote learning from home
- Staff who are well, required to isolate and/or be at home to care for family members and able to work from home
- Employees directed not to attend workplaces due to isolation requirements
- Closure of workplaces
- Other arrangements for employees unable to work from home or in another office
- Staff who are unwell
- Staff who are at higher risk of serious illness
- Staff who are well, required to isolate and/or be at home to care for family members and cannot work from home
- Leave arrangements for casual employees who are unable to work
- Long service leave
- Workers compensation
- Overseas travel restriction
- More information
Leave options for getting a COVID-19 vaccination
To support employees receiving a vaccination, DCJ will provide:
- flexible working arrangements to facilitate attendance at vaccination appointments, and/or
- access to special leave of up to two hours per vaccination (four hours in total), or an equivalent payment at base rate of pay.
Managers will consider reasonable business needs when assessing applications to attend vaccination appointments to ensure frontline service delivery is maintained.
If you have an adverse reaction after getting the vaccination, you can access your paid sick leave entitlements. If your sick leave is exhausted, special sick leave may be granted on a case by case basis.
The application of the leave can’t be retrospective applied if you have already received the vaccination.
The information below and the NSW Government’s circular on Employee Arrangements during COVID-19 (16 July 2021) provide guidance on leave entitlements.
Leave arrangements for employees unable to work from home
During the coronavirus pandemic employees may be unable to work and need to access leave. For example, employees may need to access leave if they:
- have returned from overseas travel and are required to self-isolate
- are unwell, being tested for coronavirus or have tested positive for coronavirus and need to follow medical and health advice
- are caring for sick family members
- are caring for family members due to closure of schools and caring facilities (Special leave applies where the school or caring facility is formally closed due to COVID-19 and there is no ability for a child or person to attend. Special leave does not apply for usual school closures such as school vacation dates.); or
- are unable to attend work due to transport disruptions.
All leave is paid on a pro rata basis.
Staff with children undertaking remote learning from home
Where employees are working from home with children undertaking remote learning, it is expected employees can balance caring responsibilities with their ability to undertake productive work. If this is not possible, standard leave entitlements apply. Paid special leave will only apply if schools are officially closed to all students.
DCJ supports flexible working, please speak with your manager about working flexibly around your caring responsibilities.
Staff who are well, required to isolate and/or be at home to care for family members and able to work from home
Where employees are working from home whilst providing care to a family member (including children undertaking remote learning), it is expected employees can balance caring responsibilities with their ability to undertake productive work. If this is not possible, other leave provisions will apply in accordance with the NSW Government circular: Employee Arrangements during COVID-19.
If working from home, usual payment arrangements and conditions apply.
Employees directed not to attend workplaces due to isolation requirements
Where an employee is not sick but is directed not to attend the workplace due to isolation requirements, managers should work with employees to identify work from home opportunities during the quarantine period.
Where work is unable to be provided to these employees, they are to be paid as normal and placed on paid special leave for up to 20 days. The 20 days are paid on a pro rata basis. Amendments are currently being made to our pay systems to enable staff to select ‘special leave’ for various reasons related to COVID-19. In the interim, please select the generic ‘special leave’ option.
Closure of workplaces
Where the workplace is closed, flexible work arrangements should be considered either at home or from another office location.
Where work is unable to be provided to these employees, they are to be paid as normal and placed on paid special leave. Amendments are currently being made to our pay systems to enable staff to select ‘special leave’ for various reasons related to COVID-19. In the interim and only where there is no work available staff should remain on pay and do not enter leave.
Other arrangements for employees unable to work from home or in another office
Where employees who are not directly involved in the pandemic response cannot be gainfully employed at their normal place of work, remotely from home, or at another office, such employees, where feasible and appropriate, may be temporarily assigned to work in another role within the same agency or in another government agency pursuant to relevant legislative provisions.
Staff who are unwell
For an employee who is unwell, sick leave applies.
Staff who are unwell should comply with health and medical advice, including advice that they should not attend the workplace. The latest information about self-isolation and quarantine requirements is available from the NSW Health website and the Australian Health website.
If sick leave is exhausted, special sick leave may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
Staff who are at higher risk of serious illness
Current advice from the Australian Government is that people who are at greater risk of more serious illness from COVID-19 are:
- people aged 70 years and over
- people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions
- people with compromised immune systems
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50.
More information about leave entitlements for staff who are at higher risk, as well as information for pregnant staff, is available on the intranet.
Please visit either:
Staff who are well, required to isolate and/or be at home to care for family members and cannot work from home
Up to 20 days paid special leave will be provided where someone is required to isolate and/or are unable to work because they are:
- caring for sick family members where they are unwell due to COVID-19;
- caring for family members due to closure of schools and caring facilities (Note that special leave can’t be used to supervise children undertaking remote learning if schools are not officially closed to all students. It also can’t be used for usual school holiday closures); or
- unable to attend work due to transport disruptions.
Where an employee has exhausted their 20 day allocation of special leave, Directors may approve additional special leave on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the personal circumstances of the employee and the reasons that additional special leave has been requested.
Employees who have used all their special leave (20 days and/or where additional leave has been granted), may access accrued leave entitlements, including sick, annual, family and community services leave, extended/long service leave.
Leave arrangements for casual employees who are unable to work
Casual employees may be entitled to up to 20 days special leave if they are absent from the workplace as result of COVID- 19. This is the same entitlement as ongoing staff. All payments will be issued pro rata and at the base rate of pay, that is, it will be paid at the Monday to Friday day shift rate.
Long service leave
NSW Government has passed amendments to the Long Service Leave Act 1995. Please note that this only applies to casual employees within DCJ.
The key amendments are:
- waiving the one-month notice period for taking leave (by mutual agreement between the employee and employer)
- greater flexibility for employees to take this leave in shorter blocks if they wish (rather than traditional monthly blocks).
The legislation will have effect for six months from 24 March 2020, with the possibility of an extension to one year.
NSW Government has passed amendments to the Workers Compensation Act 1987 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The key amendments are:
- Employees who contract COVID-19 are presumed to have contracted the virus in the course of their employment.
- The employee is presumed incapable for work from the date they contract COVID-19 until seven days after a medical practitioner confirms they no longer have the virus.
- The date the employee contracts the virus is when whichever of the following occurs first: they are diagnosed positive by a test; a medical practitioner classifies them as having COVID-19; or they die as a result of COVID-19.
The amendments cover workers in prescribed employment categories, including:
- disability and aged care facilities
- refugees, halfway houses and homelessness shelters
- courts and tribunals
- correctional centres and detention centres
- the cleaning industry
- any other type of employment prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this definition.
Casual workers in prescribed employment are also covered if they have worked one or more of the 21 days prior to the date they contracted the virus.
Returning from overseas travel
International arrivals are no longer required to quarantine in a hotel and are instead directed to head straight home from the point of arrival and take a rapid antigen test (RAT) within 24 hours of arrival and self-isolate until a negative result is obtained.
Unless approved to do so, DCJ staff who are international arrivals must not visit high risk settings, this includes aged care, disability care, healthcare and correctional facilities, for at least 7 days after arrival in NSW.
Further information is available on the NSW Health guidelines for international arrivals.
Leave entitlements information is guided by the NSW Government Circular: Employee Arrangements during COVID-19.
For more information about staff leave entitlements, please speak to your manager or HR Business Partner.