Going back to the workplace during the Coronavirus pandemic? Here’s your biggest questions answered.
With so much focus on lockdown, operating restrictions and frontline workers, no one expected just how much COVID-19 was going to change the way we work for ALL employees. So much so that understanding when we can and cannot go back to the workplace can be quite challenging to navigate. To make life easier, we have answered your biggest questions below:
What if I have symptoms?
It goes without saying, that if you have any symptoms that could potentially be the COVID-19, you should immediately self-isolate and speak to your Doctor about getting tested. From a work perspective, this might mean having to organise work from home arrangements with your employer until you have been given the all-clear, understanding that not all workplaces can easily allow work from home options. (Here us the COVID-19 symptoms list, from Queensland Health, current at 29/06/2020.)
Will I get paid if I need to KEEP working from home?
If you are still working, you will continue to be paid your normal wage when working from home. However, it is up to you and your employer to determine whether this arrangement is suitable as an ongoing basis, when it is safe for you to return to the workplace (in conjunction with possible clearance with your doctor) and whether a working from home arrangement is possible.
I live with someone who is vulnerable and do not want to risk bringing the virus home. Do I have to go to the workplace?
It is up to you to come to an arrangement with your employer after speaking with your doctor, employer and possibly relevant workplace health & safety representatives. You may be able to negotiate to work from home, however, if this not an option, you may need to take annual or long service leave, or unpaid leave should you not wish to return to the workplace due to this risk.
What if I notice someone in the workplace who appears to have symptoms?
Speak with your employer about your concerns. It is possible that the person has already been cleared to return to the workplace by both their doctor and the employer.
My employer has advised that I must work from a different location from my regular workplace. Is this allowed?
Yes. Under workplace health and safety laws, your employer has a responsibility to ensure they provide a safe workplace. If this cannot be accomplished on their regular premises, alternate premises may be sought out to ensure these regulations are met.
My workplace is not using adequate measures to stop the spread of the virus and I do not feel safe being there. Can I refuse to go to work?
Speak to your employer first about how you can perform your job in an appropriate and safe way. If you’re still not comfortable with these measures, you may wish to speak to a relevant Government agency, such as Workplace Health and Safety QLD.
While these are the biggest and most frequently asked questions if you are looking for more in-depth information about returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact our Workplace Partners on 1300 766 380.
*This is general information only and doesn’t take your specific circumstances into account.