However, while this is a great step towards recognising the need to immediately implement paid pandemic leave for workers, there are some specifics that are important to understand. Most nurses and care workers employed in the aged care industry are covered under an employer-specific Enterprise Agreement, rather than these Awards.
The ANMF Tasmanian Branch has written to all aged care employers encouraging them to adopt this industry standard in their Enterprise Agreements, and to make an interim offer of paid pandemic leave to their staff if they have not provided an alternate entitlement to date. So far we are finding that some employers have already been given paid pandemic leave since March 2020, and we will continue to work with those who aren’t to try and achieve financial protection for our aged care workers whilst you take the steps to protect the health of those you care for.
This remains a topic of discussion, the ANMF will continue to push for such benefits to ensure our members are able to take time away when needed, without financial distress. Such measures are not only for the benefit of the individuals health, but necessary for maintaining the highest level of infection control measures in aged care to protect staff, residents, and their families.
Updates correct as at 6 August 2020.
Authorised by Emily Shepherd, ANMF Tasmanian Branch Secretary