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.
All staff are required to complete COVID-19 Infection Control training and upload the certificate of acknowledgement to Employee Connect. This is Training Module One.
Staff working in a home or residential context where there is close personal contact between staff and clients (including ITC staff and disability support workers) must also complete Training Module Two: Supporting People to Stay Infection Free and Training Module Three: Nurse-led Infection Control Workshops. Training Module Three is being delivered by the Anglicare Workforce Development Unit (WDU) and limited training dates remain available – click here to register for Training Module Three.
Anglicare’s policy is that a worker must not attend a worksite if they have any cold or flu like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat) or if they are awaiting COVID-19 test results or if they have been in contact with anyone that is confirmed to have COVID-19.
All staff working from Anglicare sites are required to sign a declaration that they are symptom-free before commencing their shift or day’s work.
Each worksite must have an approved COVIDSafe plan and update as required by the Anglicare Executive or State/Territory Governments.
ANGLICARE WORKSITE TRAVEL GUIDELINES
The Anglicare Executive Team has decided to remove all travel restrictions between worksites in regional NSW and the ACT. This does not apply to St Saviours.
However if non-St Saviours staff need to visit St Saviours worksites in metropolitan Sydney for essential work reasons approval can be requested to the PSP Executive Manager, Ann Ponsonby with final sign off from CEO, Jeremy Halcrow.
Likewise, this same rule applies to St Saviours staff requesting visits to our regional NSW and Canberra sites. In other words the ‘hard boundary’ between St Saviours/metro Sydney and the rest of the organisation has been slightly softened.
RETIREMENT LIVING & DISABILITY SERVICES
As previously advised an ACT Health directive still applies to Brindabella Court, St Davids Close and our ACT Disability services: “people who have been in a geographical area of risk in the last 14 days should not provide home-based aged care, disability or other support services for 14 days since leaving these areas.”
However there has been some changes that have eased this directive somewhat. Indeed, ACT Health is no longer defining the whole of Greater Sydney as an area of risk. The current geographical areas of risk for COVID-19 transmission are:
- the State of Victoria
- Specific Local Government Areas in Queensland
- Specific Local Government Areas/suburbs in Greater Sydney.
GENERAL STAFF TRAVEL ADVICE
In line with the ACT health directives, we continue to discourage all other staff who live in Canberra and regional NSW from visiting metropolitan Sydney for non-essential leisure reasons (such as going to Bondi beach or sightseeing).
For well-being and compassionate reasons visiting family members such as siblings, children and parents or attending funerals is not included in this guidance but we would please request that you do not attend other mass gatherings whilst in Sydney; or attend multiple locations whilst there. Please use your wisdom and be COVIDsensible!
This information was updated 23 September 2020. 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.
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.
Our organisation has made special provisions for people who need to take leave as a result of COVID-19 illness and it can be discussed with your manager and HR.
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.
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.
Our organisation has also made special provisions for people who need to take leave as a result of COVID-19 illness and have no paid leave available. This can be discussed with your manager and HR.
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.
Job Keeper Payments
Anglicare staff who are unable to work due to the pandemic can also work with their line manager to determine if there are any roles suitable for redeployment. These roles are available to line managers to review on Employee Connect. If you wish to explore an opportunity for redeployment please discuss this with your line manager.
Employee Health and Wellbeing Program
It is more important than ever that we maintain our Sanctuary commitments and focus on self-care.
To support our Sanctuary program and help facilitate strong employee self-care, we are partnering with our EAP provider, Acacia Connection, to offer an Employee Health and Wellbeing Program over the coming months. This program will include a range of online Wellbeing Workshops, as well as opportunities to engage more deeply with independent counsellors one-on-one via virtual EAP@Work days.
Anglicare is currently developing the RALF 2020 Health and Wellbeing Program which will include a number of online workshops for staff with the intent of supporting resilience, hope and wellness.