Two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave re-introduced for State system employees

Published on:
Tuesday, 29 March, 2022
Employee Relations

Two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave re-introduced for State system employees
Employees of Local Governments that operate in the State industrial relations system are entitled to up to two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave. 

The entitlement to two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave was implemented through the COVID-19 General Order issued by the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission (WAIRC) on 25 March 2022 (2022 General Order). WALGA advocated on behalf of the sector in this application and filed submissions supporting the application for the unpaid pandemic leave entitlement. 

The 2022 General Order applies until 30 September 2022, unless extended.


In 2020, on its own motion, the WAIRC issued a General Order that contained provisions for unpaid pandemic leave and taking annual leave at half pay (2020 General Order). The 2020 General Order ceased to have effect on 31 March 2021.

On 2 March 2022 the Minister for Industrial Relations applied for a further General Order to reinstate the unpaid pandemic leave provisions of the 2020 General Order. 

However due to a change in circumstances since the making of the 2020 General Order, for example a reduction in isolation periods from 14 to seven days and the increased likelihood that employees may have to isolate on multiple occasions, the 2022 General Order does not limit the taking of up to two weeks to only one occasion. In its reasons the WAIRC observed that the effect of “this amendment is to enable an employee to take up to two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave, as a cumulative entitlement, over more than one period, subject to the total period of unpaid pandemic leave taken not exceeding two weeks”.

Federal system employees

For Local Governments that operate in the Federal industrial relations system that apply the Local Government Industry Award 2020 (LGIA), similar provisions are found in Schedule X of that award – which are currently stated to operate until 30 June 2022. We reported on Schedule X in our last ER Alert of 2021.

Last chance to register for online Federal Award Training!
The next training course for Understanding and Applying the Local Government Industry Award 2020 will be offered to WA Local Governments via Zoom. Participants will increase their knowledge and understanding of the LGIA and the interaction with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) including the National Employment Standards.

Participants will leave with the information to respond to questions about the LGIA from employees and management. This course is suitable for Local Government HR and payroll professionals. Please note this course only covers the content of the Federal Award and not the State Awards.

Knowledge and understanding of how to apply the LGIA will continue to be important even if the State IR transition proceeds as the LGIA will still apply in the State system as an industrial agreement due to the transitional provisions in the Industrial Relations Legislation Amendment Act 2021. For more information see the December 2021 SIRT Bulletin.

Date:      Thursday, 7 April
Time:      9:00am to 4:00pm 
Venue:   Virtual classroom via Zoom
Cost:      $578.00 (including GST)

Please click here to register.

If you have any questions about this training course, please email WALGA Training or call (08) 9213 2088.

If you have any other questions about this alert, please email WALGA Employee Relations or call 1300 366 956.

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