UnionsWA seeking paid pandemic leave in State IR system
Monday, September 21, 2020
UnionsWA seeking paid pandemic leave in State IR system

The current General Order of the WA Industrial Relations Commission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic provides for two weeks' unpaid pandemic leave, and the taking of annual leave at half pay and in advance. The General Order applies until 28 March 2021 to all Local Governments operating in the State IR system.

UnionsWA are seeking to vary this General Order to provide for up to two weeks'  paid pandemic leave on each occasion an employee is:
  1. required to self-isolate by government or medical authorities, on the advice of a medical practitioner, or by their employer; or
  2. is prevented from working by measures tabled by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UnionsWA are also claiming that employees should be entitled to paid time off to undergo COVID-19 testing, including the time waiting for the test to be performed and until test results are delivered. 

If UnionsWA are successful in securing this variation, WA Local Governments operating in the State IR system will need to fund two weeks of paid leave for all employees on each occasion they take pandemic leave.

WALGA is preparing a submission opposing UnionsWA’s claim for paid pandemic leave. Please note, this does not prevent Local Governments, on their own terms, offering employees paid pandemic leave.
Extension of unpaid pandemic leave in Federal award

Schedule X of the Local Government Industry Award 2020 provides for two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave and the ability to take annual leave at half pay with employer agreement.

Schedule X is due to cease operation on 30 September 2020. The Fair Work Commission’s provisional view is to extend the operation of Schedule X to 29 March 2021 to align with the extension of the JobKeeper scheme. Please see the Statement of the Commission here.
If you have any questions or feedback, please contact the WALGA Employee Relations team on employeerelations@walga.asn.au