PeakCare appreciates that many of you are being inundated with emails and notices about the Coronavirus and it can become overwhelming working out the ones to which close attention should be paid and those that are of lesser relevance to you and your organisation. Much of the information you are receiving can also become out-of-date very quickly.
The following lists the details of websites that you should closely monitor, noting that the information posted on each of these sites is frequently updated. These sites are especially relevant to ‘employers’, but ‘employees’ will also have a strong interest n their content.
It is advisable for you to allocate responsibilities to some designated people within your organisation to regularly monitor these sites and ensure that relevant information is used to update your organisation’s ‘contingency and continuity plans’. These are best regarded as ‘living documents’ that clearly state decisions made by your organisation as they are made and the actions that are to be undertaken in line with these decisions including by when and by whom they are to be performed.
Your attention is also drawn to the generous offers currently being made by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland – scroll down further to read more.
Coronavirus and Australian Workplace Laws
The Australian Government Fairwork Ombudsman site provides regularly updated answers to questions including:
- Where can I get information on health and safety in the workplace?
- When can employers direct employees to stay away from their usual workplace under workplace health and safety laws?
- What happens if an employee or their family member is sick with coronavirus?
- What if an employee is stuck overseas or is required to be quarantined or to self-isolate?
- What if an employee wants to stay home as a precaution?
- When can employees work from home?
- What about casual employees and independent contractors?
- What if I cannot attend work because my child’s school is closed due to concerns about coronavirus?
- What if I need to let employees go or reduce their working hours?
- Can employees be directed not to travel?
Coronavirus (COVID -19): Advice for Employers
The Safework Australia site regularly updates advice about the ‘model Work Health and Safety laws’ including answers to questions such as:
- What should an employer do to protect workers and others at a workplace?
- Do I have to consult my workers about measures I put in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19?
- What are my privacy obligations to workers?
- What should an employer do if they cannot get supplies of real or perceived necessities (e.g. hand sanitiser, masks)?
- Do workers need to wear surgical masks?
- My workers may come into close contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Should the workers use personal protective equipment (PPE)?
- When can an employer direct a worker to stay away from their usual place of work under the model WHS laws?
- What else should an employer take into account when deciding whether a worker or other people need to stay away from their usual place of work?
- What are the WHS risks an employer should consider if workers are working from home?
- Do workers or other people need to comply with a direction from an employer to stay away from their usual place of work?
- Can a worker refuse to come to work?
- People at my workplace are feeling stressed and anxious because of COVID-19. How do I meet my work, health and safety duties when it comes to risks to psychological health?
- Workers’ Compensation and COVID-19
Coronavirus (COVID-19) workplace risk management
The WorkCover Queensland site provides additional information addressing matters such as:
- Preventing the spread of infection at work
- Personal protective equipment, and
- Workers’ compensation.
Reference is made to related information that can be obtained from the:
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) - free membership and helpline advice
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) is now offering free membership to any Queensland based employer until 31st March 2020. Additionally, CCIQ is opening up its ‘advice helpline’ to all employers, not only those who are members. This temporary scaling up of CCIQ’s advisory services has been assisted through financial support provided by the Department of Small Business, Education and Training. Given the likelihood of many organisations having to deal with some complex human resource management issues during the oncoming weeks and months, this is an offer that is recommended to all. To become a CCIQ member, go to the website and follow the instructions. To immediately access the helpline, all you need to do is register on the same site.
Previous editions of PeakCare’s ‘Coronavirus Updates’
If you have only recently subscribed to PeakCare’s eNews and wish to view previous editions of our ‘Coronavirus Updates’, they can be accessed here.
Thank you to all who have emailed positive feedback to us about the ‘Coronavirus Updates’ – especially the 17th March edition about "Talking with Children, Young People and their Families about the Coronavirus". Thank you also to those who have submitted other resource materials that may be of use to others. They will soon be added to the other information already posted on our website.