RESPONSE TO COVID-19 VIRUS – Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) Anglicare advises staff and clients to take the following precautions in line with government recommendations. Safety for staff and our clients is our priority.
Anglicare staff are advised to follow strict hygiene and hand washing procedures. Services will be provided with hand sanitisers, with high traffic offices provided with standing mobile dispensers which we encourage clients and staff to use. Further staff hygiene training will be arranged as required by local management.
Staff who feel unwell, particularly with cold-like symptoms, are advised to immediately inform their supervisor and go home or stay home from work. It is very important to stop the potential spread of the virus to colleagues or clients or residents – particularly those who are vulnerable.
It is essential that staff observe the self-isolation period of 14 days when returning from any overseas locations. If staff have travelled on domestic flights, please contact your manager before returning to your workplace.
Further updates will be provided as necessary.
UPDATE FROM CEO JEREMY HALCROW
Video update from Jeremy Halcrow (CEO, Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT). Recorded Thursday 26 March 2020.
Anglicare is committed to the Health and Safety of our staff and those with whom they come into contact.
Managers who hold a reasonable belief that an employee, contractor or visitor poses a health and safety risk, including symptoms of COVID-19, must direct them not to attend an Anglicare workplace.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, it is prudent to remind everyone of their obligation to take reasonable care not to adversely affect the health and safety of other persons, and ask that they notify their Manager immediately if they are suffering flu-like symptoms.
Should I attend an Anglicare worksite?
Review the decision tree below to determine if you or your worker should attend an Anglicare worksite.
International travel means all travel outside of Australia following determination from the Commonwealth Department of Health that all international travel with a return date of 16 March 2020 or later is high risk, requiring self-isolation for a period of 14 days.
At risk means a situation where you have come into close contact with any other person that:
- Has tested positive to COVID-19; or
- Is undergoing testing for COVID-19.
Close contact is where COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:
- Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared;
- Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes; or
- Touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.
Employees are required to notify their Manager if they are likely to be or are in an at risk situation. This needs to be entered into IsoPro as soon as possible.
The Commonwealth Department of Health has advised that COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly.
People with COVID-19 may experience:
- Flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, tiredness / fatigue
- Shortness of breath
The National Coronavirus Health Information Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 020 080
Employees are required to notify their Manager if they are or do at any point experience symptoms. This needs to be entered into IsoPro as soon as possible.
Negative test results:
Negative test results means that you have attended a GP, Hospital, authorised Telehealth service or other authorised medical health service on or after the 14thday and received either:
- A negative COVID-19 test result (in circumstances you have displayed symptoms); or
- A written confirmation from the treating physician that you did not present with any clinical features suggestive of a viral infections after having undergone assessment which includes at a minimum normal temperature and heart rate, nil respiratory distress, clear chest, no rhinorrhoea or pharyngitis (in circumstances where you have not displayed symptoms)
What if I am required to self-isolate or quarantine?
Where an employee cannot work because they are subject to an enforceable government order or direction requiring them to self-quarantine, employees are not ordinarily entitled to be paid (unless they use leave entitlements). In this case, their inability to work is because of a government order or direction, not because of their employer.
If you are required to self-isolate or quarantine due to a Government order and/or you have been in a high risk situation and
- have no symptoms and are able to work from home you will be paid as normal;
- have no symptoms and are unable to work from home you will need to apply for annual/long service leave/unpaid;
- have symptoms you should submit a personal leave request. If you have no available personal leave, you can utilise your annual or long service leave entitlements. Alternatively, you are able to take unpaid personal leave. All Applications for leave must be entered into EmployeeConnect.
Casuals are not entitled to paid personal leave. Long-term casuals have an entitlement to long service leave which they may be able to access should an Anglicare workplace be shut down. All Applications for leave must be entered into Anglicare’s HR system – EmployeeConnect.
Employees may be able to access enhanced government payments – see information here.
The Australian Government could direct employers to close workplaces or make decisions that restrict movement of people more generally, which may result in the closure of workplaces. Anglicare services may close due to an inability to continue operating resulting from essential supplies or stock becoming unavailable.
Due to the complex and varied funding arrangements under which Anglicare services operate, service closures or reductions will be considered individually. Compliance with all Government directions in relation to the pandemic and our responsibility to ensuring the health and safety of staff and clients will be central to any decisions.
If the Australian Government issues a direction which results in Anglicare closing services and you are able to remain usefully employed and work from home you will continue to be paid as normal. Alternately, you will be able to access your annual and long service leave entitlements.
What if my children’s School, Early Learning Centre or Family Day Care closes?
If you are required to stay home to care for children, due to school/day-care closures and are able to work you must follow Anglicare’s Working from Home Policy and Process.
If you are required to stay home to care for children, due to school/day-care closures and are unable to work, you should submit a carers (personal) leave request. Full-time and part-time employees can take unpaid carer’s leave if they have no paid sick or carer’s leave left. Alternately, if you have no available carers (personal) leave, you can utilise your annual or long service leave. Casual employees are entitled to 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave per occasion.
What happens if I am not able to work from home when services are shut down due to the pandemic?
Generally, in situations where employers are required to stand-down staff due to something out of their control, this is done so without pay. Anglicare staff are able to utilise available annual or long service leave entitlements.
If you are able to work from home and remain ‘usefully employed’, please discuss this with your manager.
If you are unable to remain ‘usefully employed’, your manager will discuss leave arrangements with you.
I am a casual, what happens to me?
In the situation where Anglicare closes a workplace casuals will receive pay for the hours rostered for the current pay fortnight and the subsequent pay fortnight.
NOTE: There may also be opportunities for staff to avoid lengthy unpaid periods by helping backfill staff shortages in essential roles across service areas that continue to operate. Suitability will be depend on the requirements of the role in relation to qualifications, employment checks currency, availability and experience. A list of available roles will be communicated through email as they come available and can be discussed with your Executive Manager in the first instance.
Important Considerations for Managers
Managers will be responsible for working with individual employees during this uncertain period and navigate together through some potentially difficult conversations. There is no single right response for all employees. Each situation must be managed on a case-by-case basis. In concert with the above information please consider the following:
Managers should commence conversations about working from home (WFH) with each employee as soon as practicable. Follow the organisations policy and work with each individual to complete the WFH agreement and risk assessment.
Encourage staff to trial WFH sooner rather than later. This way any unforeseen issues that arise for people when working from home for the first time can be addressed quickly.
When negotiating a WFH arrangement consider flexibility in hours, particularly when the employee has carer responsibilities.
You may allow work to be completed in small blocks of time over the course of the day, rather than as a standard work day, or composite part paid leave part work hours over the course of the week. Alternately, the individual may prefer to work some longer days to make up their working hours.
It is important to ensure that each employee is “usefully employed”. This means that the employment will result in a net benefit to the employer’s business by reason of the performance of the particular work done by the employee.
Having the things needed to complete the work from home is critical to ensure employees are as effective as they can be. Simple items like staples, or a highlighter, as well as the more significant items, laptop, mouse/keyboard, an internet connection are all key to ensuring that the business continues to run as normal as possible.
It is good practice for employees to record their hours of work when they work from home. This provides clarity about the amount of hours worked in a week and ensures that the employee is not working too many hours. Employers and employees are encouraged to discuss how this should occur.
Records of discussions and agreements reached as part of managing arrangements with staff should also be maintained.
Managers should ensure that there are opportunities to connect face to face to continue foster relationships between team members and create a connected environment by using email, phone, text and/or zoom to foster a connected environment. Daily community meetings are a great way to achieve this.
Managers should consider individual employees personality traits – most of these teams, working from home for the first time, may not have had the chance to trial how they can best work together in these types of settings. Individual team members may enjoy the peace and quiet of home working, or miss the buzz of the workplace.
Individuals will experience the change in different ways – some may immediately feel anxious while others will relish the challenge and even the uncertainty that change can bring.
Trusting employees to continue to carry out their tasks as normal is key to a successful transition to remote working.
Managers should remain flexible in relation to the taking of leave entitlements. Employees may find it useful to take their paid annual and/or long service entitlements at half pay or a set number of hours per fortnight. Please ensure that this is agreed in writing and the individual lodges an application accurately in Anglicare’s HRIS.