Leave

Leave relating to illness and COVID-19

Should I come to work if I feel unwell?

We know Monash Health employees are an extremely dedicated and committed workforce and will go above and beyond to serve our community. However, COVID-19 poses a real threat to our most vulnerable Victorians and can be transmitted by anyone, no matter how well-intentioned they are.

Please keep yourself, your colleagues and our community safe and do not come to work if you are feeling unwell.

When can I take personal/carer’s leave and what evidence do I need to provide?

You can take personal/carer’s leave when you have a personal illness or injury or caring responsibilities for a member of your immediate family or household who is sick, injured or has an unexpected emergency. Please note, COVID-19 is not currently considered an unexpected emergency.

You will need to provide notice and evidence in accordance with your relevant Enterprise Agreement. If you are unwell or injured, this may be in the form of a medical certificate. If you are in isolation due to close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, you are able to provide a statutory declaration as your evidence.

What if I am required to not attend work in accordance with Victoria’s Chief Health Officer’s advice?

If you are unable to work from home, you will be able to access paid special leave. For example if you have been directed to self-isolate due to contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

What if I become sick? What leave do I have to take?

If you are absent from work because you have an illness (whether COVID-19 or another illness), you must use your accrued personal leave in the first instance. If you do not have enough personal leave to cover the period of the absence, other paid and unpaid leave entitlements (such as annual leave) can be used.

What if I become sick while at work?

You should be tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate until the results are returned. If positive, you will need to remain away from work for the period defined by the DHHS. If negative, you can return to work when you are well.

What if I become exposed to an infected person?

You will be contacted by Infection Prevention if you have had contact with a known infected person while you were not wearing the appropriate PPE. If you are deemed to be a close contact you will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days from the last contact with that individual. At day 11 of this self-isolation period you will be asked to have a respiratory swab. When 14 days has elapsed and it is confirmed that the day 11 swab is negative you will be released from isolation.

What if I get COVID-19?

A test will confirm if you have COVID-19. The DHHS will discuss what you need to do. Generally, a healthcare worker is allowed to return to work when at least 10 days have lapsed since the symptoms started and they have had no symptoms for at least 3 days. The DHHS will send you notification that you are released from isolation and you should send this to Infection Prevention for confirmation.

If you have contracted COVID-19 through your work you can make a WorkCover claim. An accepted WorkCover claim provides you with weekly payments and reasonable costs for medical services incurred due to your illness. Once your claim is accepted, any personal leave or annual leave taken as a result of being off work will be reimbursed.

Additional information can be found on the ‘If you are injured at work’ poster.

What leave am I entitled to if I am required to self-isolate while waiting for COVID-19 test results?

If you have been tested for COVID-19 because you are symptomatic you are required to remain in self-isolation until your results have been returned. If positive, you will need to remain away from work for the period defined by the DHHS. If negative, you can return to work when you are asymptomatic.

You are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 at one of Monash Health’s walk in testing sites and to identify that you are a Monash Health employee as this means we can prioritise your results. Walk in testing sites are located at:

  • Berwick – 7 Gibbs St
  • Dandenong – 169 Cleeland St
  • Clayton – 239 Clayton Rd

Where you have been tested on or after 7 July 2020, you will be entitled to paid special from the day you are tested until you receive your results if you are unable to work from home. You will need to provide your manager with evidence that you attended testing, for example a certificate of attendance.

What if I am waiting for my COVID-19 test results but I am no longer unwell?

Where you have been tested on or after 7 July 2020, if you were symptomatic when you were tested for COVID-19 but become asymptomatic while you are waiting for your test results, please advise your manager so that, if reasonable and appropriate, they can arrange for you to work from home. If you are able to work from home but refuse to do so, you will not be entitled to paid special leave. If you are not able to work from home, you will be entitled to paid special leave.

If when your test results are returned you are positive, you will be required to use your accrued personal leave.

I am a casual employee and am required to self-isolate. What leave am I entitled to?

If you are an affected casual employee, you are entitled to be absent from the workplace on unpaid leave for any required period of self-isolation.

We may be able to consider ‘working from home arrangements’ for some or all of your absence if it is practical and appropriate.

Where you are required to self-isolate and one of the travel exemptions listed in the ‘Leave following travel’ section does not apply, you may be able to apply for paid special leave. Applications will be considered on a case by case basis. If you have been employed on a regular and systematic basis for at least three months and it is anticipated that you will continue to be employed on a regular and systematic basis, paid special leave will be provided to cover any required period of self-isolation or required absence from work.

If granted, special leave will be paid based on your likely work pattern had you not been required to self-isolate. We may require you to provide a statutory declaration or other reasonable evidence of your requirement to self-isolate.

What will I be paid if I am on special leave?

If paid special leave has been granted it will generally be paid at your ordinary rate of pay for your contracted hours. It excludes payments of a temporary character such as overtime or travel allowance. Paid special leave is not intended to advantage or disadvantage employees. You will be paid for any shift penalties or weekend rates in accordance with your roster had you worked. Payment for allowances will be in accordance with your enterprise agreement.

For a casual employee, special leave will be paid based on your likely work pattern.

What if I am caring for someone who has or is suspected to be infected with COVID-19?

You may access personal/carer’s leave, or other paid or unpaid leave options.

We may be able to consider ‘working from home arrangements’ for some or all of your absence if it is practical and appropriate. Please discuss this option with your manager.

When can I come back to work?

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be allowed to return to work when at least 10 days have lapsed since the symptoms started and you have had no symptoms for at least 3 days. The DHHS will send you notification that you are released from isolation and you should send this to Infection Prevention for confirmation.

If you are a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, you cannot return to work until a full 14 day self-isolation period from the time of last contact with the confirmed case has been completed. At day 11 you will be asked to have a respiratory swab. When the 14 day self-isolation period has elapsed and it is confirmed that the day 11 swab is negative you will be released from isolation.

Cancelling, requesting and donating leave

Can I cancel booked leave?

Please discuss any requests to cancel or defer leave with your manager as soon as possible. We need to be able to balance the already planned roster with any requests to cancel previously approved leave. Exceptions may occur where an employee has an excessive annual leave balance and the leave was part of a leave plan or where recruitment action has occurred and a replacement employee has been engaged. We also need to be mindful that there may be limits on leave in the future, so taking leave as planned may be a good idea.

Can we donate leave to colleagues/family members who test positive and have exhausted all of their leave entitlements?

Employees can donate annual leave in accordance with the People & Culture Annual Leave Donation Procedure. The Enterprise Agreements covering the employment of employees at Monash Health and any subsidiary company of Monash Health do not allow for the cashing out of any other form of leave other than annual leave.

Can we purchase extra leave?

Employees are able to purchase additional leave in accordance with their applicable Enterprise Agreement. Additional information is available in the People & Culture Purchased Leave Scheme Procedure on Prompt.

Is there a hospital wide ban on applying for annual leave?

You are able to request and take leave in accordance with your relevant Enterprise Agreement. If you are wanting to apply for leave you should discuss this with your manager. 

Can I take unpaid leave even though I have accrued annual leave or long service leave?

Generally unpaid leave will not be granted where you have accrued annual leave or long service leave available to you.

Can Monash Health cancel my previously approved leave?

In some cases, it may be necessary for Monash Health to cancel employees previously approved leave in order to maintain critical public service functions and services. Where this is necessary your manager will consult with you and provide advance notice of both the timing and the duration of the cancelled leave and what duties are required to be performed wherever practicable.

Where this is necessary Monash Health will:

  • Consider the requirements of relevant enterprise agreements, including consultation requirements, and engage with the relevant union(s);
  • Consider the skills and capabilities of employees;
  • Where practical consult with and advise employees of the timing and duration of the cancelled leave and what duties are required to be performed;
  • Ensure employees are remunerated in accordance with the relevant enterprise agreement;
  • Assess any risks to employees and take reasonable steps to mitigate them;
  • Provide as much notice as practicable of any changes to work locations and duties;
  • Consider the availability of appropriate and safe travel options to and from any alternative location;
  • Consider the employee’s family and personal circumstances, including caring responsibilities; and
  • Consider the continuation of any workplace reasonable adjustments or flexible working conditions wherever possible.

School and childcare

What are my options to balance work and Term 4 school arrangements?

From 12 October 2020, there will be a return to onsite learning for Prep to grade 7, VCE (years 11 and 12 or those doing VCE, VCAL subjects, International Baccalaureate, or VETiS) and special schools. For years 8 – 10, remote and flexible learning continues until they return to on-site schooling on 26 October. Onsite outside school hours care will also open from 12 October 2020.

Access to up to 20 days’ paid Special Leave relating to school closures will only be available in circumstances where Victoria’s Chief Health Officer requires a school to be closed in whole or in part due to COVID-19 related matters. Special leave does not apply where:

  • Your child or children have access to on-site learning at their school, but you choose not to send them to school. You should speak to your manager about taking annual leave or long service leave.
  • Another member of your household is present to care for your child or children.
  • It is the school holidays.

If you choose not to send your child(ren) to school due to COVID-19 concerns you may request to work from home where practical and appropriate. You may also speak with your manager about temporary, flexible working arrangements as per your Enterprise Agreement. Paid Special Leave will not be available in this situation.

Can I carry over any of the unused 20 days paid Special Leave available relating to school/childcare closures to Term 4?

No. Paid Special Leave made available relating to school/childcare closures in Term 2 and Term 3 were specific to those terms. Each term stands alone. Therefore, only a maximum of twenty (20) days of paid Special Leave is available from 5 October 2020 in Term 4, regardless of use in Terms 2 and 3.

Can I send my children to childcare/kindergarten?

From 28 September 2020, childcare centres opened to all children.

From 5 October 2020, sessional kindergarten programs are open to all children’s attendance on site.

Can I use long service leave to look after my children?

Yes if you wish to take long service leave you should speak to your manager.

What if before or after-school care programs remain closed and I cannot work my full shift length?

If you are unable to work your full shift because a before or after-school care program is closed, you may use your accrued annual leave. You may also wish to apply for flexible working arrangements per your Enterprise Agreement.

Changes to working conditions

If our department is closed, will staff be required to take sick leave/annual leave and can we access LSL?

In cases where your work area or service is temporarily closed or has reduced demand, and it is not possible or feasible for you to work from home or do other work in the area, we will look to temporarily reassign you to a suitable area/role (‘Reassignment’).

If you cannot be reassigned, you will continue to be paid your current salary. However, if you can be reassigned and you refuse the reassignment, you will need to discuss taking paid and/or unpaid leave with your manager.

Learn more about reassignment on the Workforce Mobilisation Team page.

What if my casual shifts have been cancelled? Am I entitled to any paid leave?

Please refer to the information and guidance on the Casual and part-time employees page.

Why am I being forced to take leave?

Generally you cannot be forced to take your annual leave or long service leave. Managers may have an ability to direct you to take annual leave where you have accrued excess annual leave. This must be done in accordance with your relevant Enterprise Agreement. Otherwise your manager should discuss and agree any leave plans with you. If you have concerns that you are being forced to take leave please contact your People and Culture Business Partner.

Why am I being asked to take annual leave if my work place has been temporarily closed?

Generally you cannot be forced to your annual leave. Please refer to the “Why am I being forced to take leave?” question for further information.

Leave types and Kronos codes

The Leave Type Flowchart will help employees and managers determine the most appropriate leave type related to an employee’s COVID-19 status, or that of those in their care or household.

Payroll has created additional Kronos codes for use when employees are on COVID-19 related leave. The leave types have been mapped to the new Kronos leave types in the flowchart.

Managers are able to access the leave application form for paid special leave in relation to COVID-19 here or from the Payroll forms page (search for “payroll forms” on the Monash Health Intranet). Where an employee wishes to take personal/carer’s leave the evidence requirements in the relevant Enterprise Agreement will apply. If the employee is in isolation due to close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, they may provide a statutory declaration as their evidence.

If you have a query which is not addressed by the Leave Type Flowchart or Kronos Leave Codes documents, please contact CovidPayrollQueries@monashhealth.org for any enquiries relating to pay and the new KRONOS codes for COVID-19 related leave.

Download the Leave Type Flowchart (pdf document)

Download Kronos Leave Codes COVID-19 (pdf document)

Download the Kronos Staff Leave Application Form (pdf document)

Travel

We’ve summarised some of the latest information regarding leave following travel below:

  • All employees returning from overseas from midnight on 28 March 2020 are subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days in a nominated accommodation facility.
  • Paid Special Leave is not available upon return from any overseas travel.
  • Employees who are returning from overseas travel and are required to self-isolate can apply for paid leave, or unpaid leave if they do not have enough paid annual leave or other paid leave.

What if I am overseas and cannot get home?

You will have to use any paid leave you have accrued, such as annual leave or long service. If you have no accrued leave, you will need to speak to your manager about leave without pay.

Business travel

The Australian Government has advised all Australians against travelling overseas indefinitely. This advice applies regardless of your destination, age or health. This means all approvals for any business-related travel overseas, including CME travel are now rescinded.

Continuing Medical Education Support for Medical Specialists

CME related leave and expenses will be managed as per Department of Health and Human Services advice (see below).

Please contact Natalie Van Goethem to discuss your circumstance and for further details about the process for reimbursement.

Download the DHHS Guidance Note on CME-Related Matters (PDF document)

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