COVID-19 and Your Rights at Work

What you need to know about coronavirus (COVID-19)

What should my employer be doing?

The most effective action employers can take to eliminate or minimise the risk of workers contracting COVID-19 is to identify potential carriers of the virus and financially support them to self-isolate with paid special leave.

Unions are calling for 2 weeks paid special leave to be granted to any worker impacted by COVID-19 that is required to isolate or is unable to work.

Union delegates and HSRs can use this general checklist to confirm that appropriate measures have been taken in their worksites to keep everyone safe and ensure ongoing work.

Can I refuse to work?

Under WHS laws you have the right to refuse work or cease work if there is a reasonable concern that you would be exposed to a serious risk to your health and safety from an immediate or imminent hazard. A serious risk of exposure to a COVID-19 infection would meet this definition.

You should contact the Union for advice immediately if you think there is a serious risk of exposure to COVID-19 at your work.

I’ve been directed to self-isolate; will I continue to be paid my wages?

Yes. You will be paid your ordinary wages while the direction applies.

If you are a casual worker, the Union can pursue special paid leave on your behalf during any directed self-isolation. Contact the Union to assist you in making the request.

I’m sick with COVID-19 and I’ve been directed to stay at home, will I continue to be paid my wages?

The Union is urging employers to provide all workers with 2 weeks of special paid leave if they have contracted COVID-19.

If you are a permanent worker you are also entitled to a minimum of 10 days of paid personal leave under the NES and if paid personal leave is exhausted, you can use your annual leave and long service leave.

You may be eligible for the JobKeeper wage subsidy, click here to find out more

A member of my immediate family is sick with COVID-19, am I entitled to any caring leave?

You can use your paid personal/carer’s leave for caring purposes as well as 2 days of paid compassionate leave.
Casual employees are entitled to unpaid personal/carer’s leave and 2 days of unpaid compassionate leave. Enterprise agreements, awards, employment contracts or workplace policies should be reviewed in case they have more generous conditions for casual workers.

I’m being treated unfairly because my employer suspects that I have COVID-19.

You are protected from being harassed, discriminated against or having adverse action taken against you because of a disease or illness, or a belief that you may have a disease or illness.


The Union has services to assist members and can also ensure you get access to expert legal and work health and safety advice about your rights and entitlements.

If you have any queries in relation to your rights at work you can contact your Union HSR, Delegate or Organiser.

Or you can contact the union directly using the form below.


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