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Creating clarity for your team members around COVID-19 leave payments

As COVID spreads widely through the community it’s time to create clarity with your teams about how any COVID-19 leave will be treated, particularly where the absence from work is a requirement as a household contact.  The rules on this are changing frequently (this week we saw household contact mandatory isolation change from 10 to 7 days) and these changes will keep coming at us as the population builds up some immunity and the health system rides the COVID-19 storm.
 
It’s important to remember that government intervention at this point is aimed at ensuring that those that need it the most can access specialist healthcare in our hospitals.  The actions taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 now have this as a single purpose and we will continue to see our personal responsibilities and decision making in these areas expand, as the pressures on the health system require less government intervention.
 
Ultimately COVID-19 will become a ‘mainstream’ sickness and as employers the sooner we can signal to our teams how we will be treating COVID-19 absences in the future, the better.
 
To this end we’ve drafted up a letter for team members that may help.  It protects you as an employer and your ability to access the current COVID-19 leave subsidies that you may be able to apply for, and also signals that in the longer term, when these leave subsidies no longer exist, how COVID-19 leave will become a standard part of any sick leave entitlement.  The letter also deals with the tricky aspects of topping up COVID-19 leave payments with sick leave and also with annual leave (with employees consent).
 
Take a look, it will need tailoring to suit your circumstances for sure (and of course we can help with that), and think about what messages you can be sending your team now for the medium and longer term.

Covid-19 Letter to Team Members