Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibilities now available

This announcement is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

An entitlement to two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave has been introduced for private sector state system employees. New flexibility provisions enabling employers and employees to agree to an employee taking twice as much annual leave at half pay or to agree for the employee to take annual leave in advance have also been implemented.

These new provisions are effective from 14 April 2020. 

The new provisions were implemented through the COVID-19 General Order issued by the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission to assist private sector employers and employees address the impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic on their workplaces. 

The COVID-19 General Order applies to private sector award free employees and private sector employees covered by WA awards or registered industrial agreements. 

The new COVID-19 flexibility provisions are:

  1. Full time, part time and casual employees are entitled to take up to two weeks’ unpaid leave if the employee is required, by government or medical authorities or acting on the advice of a medical practitioner, to self‑isolate or is otherwise prevented from working by measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic. An employer and employee may agree that the employee may take more than two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave.
     
  2. Instead of an employee taking paid annual leave at full pay, the employee and their employer may agree to the employee taking twice as much leave at half pay. Any such agreement must be recorded in writing and signed by the employee (and a parent/guardian if the employee is under 18) and the written agreement must be kept by the employer as an employment record.
     
  3. An employee and employer may agree to an employee taking a period of annual leave in advance of the entitlement being accrued if all of the following conditions are met:
    • any agreement to take annual leave in advance must be recorded in writing and signed by the employee (and a parent/guardian if the employee is under 18); and
    • the written agreement must state the amount of leave to be taken in advance and the date on which the leave will commence; and
    • the employer must keep the written agreement as part of the employee’s employment record.

More detailed information on these new provisions is available on the Employment impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus page on the Wageline website.

The COVID-19 General Order applies until 31 July 2020, unless extended.

Labour Relations
Department News
15 Apr 2020

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