COVID-19-related leave

Information for Monash Health employees about their leave entitlements regarding COVID-19.

Leave relating to illness and COVID-19

I am a permanent employee. What leave am I entitled to if I get COVID-19?

If you are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19 (either by PCR or RAT) you should speak to your manager in the first instance. Where you are well enough to do so, working from home arrangements should be considered, this may include alternative duties from home where appropriate.

You need to comply with the notice and evidence requirements under the relevant Enterprise Agreement to be entitled to paid personal leave.

I am a permanent full-time or part-time employee. Am I entitled to paid special leave if I get COVID-19?

Where you test positive for COVID-19, you will only be entitled to paid special leave in the following circumstances:

  • Where you do not have sufficient paid personal leave to cover some or all of the period you need to stay home to isolate (5 days), and you cannot work from home (if you are not unwell) undertaking normal duties or training for the required isolation period – you are entitled to paid special leave for the portion that cannot be covered by paid personal leave.
  • Where your employer imposes an isolation period in excess of 5 days, paid special leave must be granted for the additional days (beyond 5 days).

Payment of paid special leave is conditional upon your compliance with the notice and evidence requirements under the relevant Enterprise Agreement.

Employers cannot require an employee to access other paid leave (such as annual leave, accrued ADOs or long service leave) before being entitled to paid special leave.

If you are still symptomatic following that 5-day period and you are unable to return to work, you will be expected to use your accrued personal leave or other leave entitlements.

I am a full-time or part-time employee and I have COVID-19. What evidence do I need to provide my manager?

Paid personal leave
To be eligible for paid personal leave, you must comply with the notice and evidence requirements in your relevant Enterprise Agreement.

Enterprise Agreements generally provide that employees must provide evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person, which includes either a medical certificate or a statutory declaration. Many Enterprise Agreements provide a cap on the number of statutory declarations an employee can provide in a year. Please refer to the Enterprise Agreement that applies to you for specific information.

Paid special leave
If you are eligible for paid special leave (because you have exhausted paid personal leave or where Monash Health has imposed an isolation period beyond 5 days), in addition to providing either a medical certificate or a statutory declaration as required by your Enterprise Agreement, you will also need to provide evidence of a positive RAT or PCR test.

I am a casual employee or independent contractor. What leave am I entitled to if I get COVID-19?

If you are a casual employee or contractor and are required to be absent from the workplace, we may make arrangements with you to work from home for some or all of the isolation period, where reasonable and practical.

Where you are a casual employee and working from home is not practical – we will assess whether to provide you with paid special leave on a case-by-case basis, taking into account:

  • Whether you have been employed and working for us on a regular and systematic basis for at least three months, and are expected to continue to be employed on a regular and systematic basis; and
  • Your likely work pattern had there not been public health advice recommending you be absent from the workplace.

What if I am a close contact or exposed to COVID-19 within my household?

As a health care worker you are eligible to work provided you feel well and are asymptomatic.

Employees who are close contacts should speak to their manager in the first instance about returning to work. For further information about close contacts and advice about returning to work where you are a close contact please click here.

Where a risk assessment has determined that it is not appropriate for an employee to return to work and all other options such as alternative duties and/or working from home have been exhausted, you may access paid personal leave for your 5 day self-isolation period.

Paid special leave is no longer available to employees who are close contacts.

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 expected work pattern.

Leave types and UKG Dimensions

As a manager, what do I do if an employee is eligible for paid special leave?

If an employee is eligible for paid special leave, managers can approve and enter paid special leave on behalf of employees into UKG Dimensions.

As a manager, what UKG Dimensions code should I use for paid special leave?

For those employees eligible for paid special leave, managers should use the UKG Dimensions code Special Pd LVE – COVID.

How can I check what leave types I am eligible for?

The Leave Types flowchart will help employees and managers determine the most appropriate leave type for an employee.

As a manager, what UKG Dimensions leave codes do I use for employees’ COVID-19 related leave?

The UKG Dimensions leave codes table outlines the UKG Dimensions leave codes to be used when employees are on COVID-19 related leave. The UKG Dimensions leave codes have also been mapped in the Leave types flowchart.

Who should I contact if I have further enquiries?

For further enquiries relating to pay and the UKG Dimensions codes for COVID-19 related leave, please contact CovidPayrollQueries@monashhealth.org.

Notice – May 2022

Information for employees about their leave entitlements during COVID-19 is under review.

If you have any enquiries concerning COVID-19 related leave, please contact CovidPayrollQueries@monashhealth.org.

Thank you for your understanding.

Leave relating to illness and COVID-19

I am a permanent employee. What leave am I entitled to if I get COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19 (either by PCR or RAT) you should speak to your manager in the first instance. Where you are well enough to do so, working from home arrangements should be considered, this may include alternative duties from home where appropriate.

Where you are unwell and/or unable to work from home you will be entitled to special paid leave for the 7 days you are required to isolate. The amount of paid special leave will be determined by your contracted working hours. For example, if you are full time working 5 days per week, you will be entitled to 5 days of special paid leave for your 7 day isolation period.

If you are still symptomatic following that 7 day period and you are unable to return to work, you will be expected to use your accrued personal leave or other leave entitlements.

If you are positive for COVID-19 you are not required to provide a medical certificate, but you should provide proof of your positive test result (either RAT or PCR).This may include evidence of your positive RAT being reported to the Department of Health.

I am a casual employee or independent contractor. What leave am I entitled to if I get COVID-19?

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 due to contracting COVID-19 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 if I am a close contact or exposed to COVID-19 within my household?

As a health care worker you are eligible to work provided you feel well, are asymptomatic and return a negative RAT prior to your shift.

Paid special leave is only available to employees who are close contacts in limited circumstances, including:

  • Where you are symptomatic despite returning a negative RAT. In this case, you are encouraged to have a PCR test; or
  • Where Monash Health determines on the basis of a risk assessment that it is not appropriate for you to return to work during the 7 day isolation period.

Employees who are close contacts should speak to their manager in the first instance about returning to work. For further information about close contacts and advice about returning to work where you are a close contact please click here. 

Where a risk assessment has determined that it is not appropriate for an employee to return to work and all other options such as alternative duties and/or working from home have been exhausted, you may access special paid leave for your 7 day self-isolation period.

If you develop COVID-19 after being a close contact, you are eligible for another 7 day period of special paid leave from the date you tested positive to COVID-19.

This means if you have already been isolating and receiving paid special leave as a close contact for 3 days before you test positive for COVID-19, you will be able to access paid special leave for your required 7 day isolation period (for a total of 10 days’ paid special leave) and then you will need to take accrued personal leave or other leave entitlements if you are still unwell after that period.

Please note, paid special leave is not available where you are required to provide care to someone in your household who has COVID-19, unless you are unable to return to work because you are symptomatic or as the outcome of the risk assessment. If one of the exemptions do not apply, you will be expected to access carer’s leave.

What if I am already absent from the workplace (on annual leave, personal leave or long service leave) and I am a close contact or test positive to COVID-19?

If you are already absent from the workplace, for example on annual leave, personal leave or long service leave and are a close contact or test positive to COVID-19 you are not entitled to special paid leave.

Where you are unwell you may be eligible for personal leave in accordance with your relevant Enterprise Agreement.

What leave am I entitled to if I am waiting for COVID-19 test results?

Paid special leave is no longer available if you are waiting for PCR test results. If you are unwell you may be eligible for personal leave in accordance with your relevant Enterprise Agreement. If you are well enough to work, speak to your manager about working from home where possible.

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.

Leave relating to COVID-19 vaccination

Can I take leave to attend my COVID-19 vaccination appointment?

You may be eligible for time off without loss of pay to travel to and from a vaccination centre (if the centre is not at your usual place of work) and be vaccinated. This includes the requirement to get your COVID-19 booster shot. If it is not practical or possible to receive the vaccination in paid time, employees may be eligible to receive up to four hours pay on a case-by-case basis.

All other employees (including casual employees employed on a regular and systematic basis with an expectation of ongoing casual employment) may access up to four hours, or an equivalent payment at their base rate of pay to attend a vaccination appointment. This payment is inclusive of reasonable travel time. However, where onsite vaccinations are provided by Monash Health time release will only be provided to attend the onsite vaccination centre and paid time off for up to four hours will not apply.

Employee requests for paid time off must be approved by their manager in advance.

Employees who access up to four hours of paid time off should return to work as soon as possible after receiving their vaccination unless they suffer an adverse event after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination (AEFI).

What leave can I take if I experience an adverse event after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine (including booster shot(s))?

Paid special leave is available to employees who experience an expected adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) that does not require them to isolate but results in the employee being unable to work related to the symptoms experienced.

A casual employee who has been working at Monash Health on a regular and systematic basis for at least three months and has an expectation of ongoing casual employment and experiences an AEFI that does not require them to isolate but does result in them being unable to work related to the symptoms experienced, may be entitled to paid special leave.

To access paid special leave in this circumstance, employees (including eligible casual employees) are required to provide a medical certificate or other acceptable evidence as provided by their Enterprise Agreement (such as a statutory declaration), confirming that the reason for not attending work is due to an AEFI as a result of them being unable to work due to the symptoms they experienced.

Where an employee experiences an AEFI that results in them being unable to attend work because of the symptoms experienced, paid special leave will be capped at a maximum of two days per COVID-19 vaccination received.

Guidelines on post vaccination management of adverse events following vaccinations (AEFI), including circumstances which may require you to isolate following vaccination, can be found on the Monash Health intranet vaccination hub.

If you experience an adverse event after a COVID-19 ‘booster’ shot, you will be entitled to a maximum of two continuous days of paid special leave if you experience an adverse event after receiving the ‘booster’ shot.

The special leave entitlements in relation to adverse events following a ‘booster’ shot apply from 1 January 2022.

Leave types and UKG Dimensions

As a manager, what do I do if an employee is eligible for paid special leave? 

If an employee is eligible for paid special leave, managers can approve and enter paid special leave on behalf of employees into UKG Dimensions.

As a manager, what UKG Dimensions code should I use for paid special leave?

For those employees eligible for paid special leave, managers should use the UKG Dimensions code Special Pd LVE – COVID.

How can I check what leave types I am eligible for?

The Leave Types 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.

Download the COVID-19 leave types flowchart. 

As a manager, what UKG Dimensions leave codes do I use for employees’ COVID-19 related leave?

The UKG Dimensions leave codes table outlines the UKG Dimensions leave codes to be used when employees are on COVID-19 related leave. The UKG Dimensions leave codes have also been mapped in the Leave types flowchart.

Download the UKG Dimensions leave codes table.

Who should I contact if I have further enquiries? 

For further enquiries relating to pay and the UKG Dimensions codes for COVID-19 related leave, please contact CovidPayrollQueries@monashhealth.org.

Cancelling, requesting and donating leave

Can I cancel booked leave?

Any requests to cancel booked annual leave need to be discussed with your manager and mutually agreed. Whilst we appreciate your original plans regarding leave may have changed, it’s important for your wellbeing to still take a break from work. We also need to be mindful that operational requirements may limit your ability to take 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.

Please note, that consideration will need to be given to ensuring that employees are available to maintain critical functions or services.

Because of these pressures on the Victorian public health service system, in some circumstances, your manager may not be able to approve your leave requests.

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 or recall us during a period or previously approved leave?

In some cases, it may be necessary for Monash Health to cancel employees previously approved leave or recall employees during a period or 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 or recall from 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 as required by Victorian Occupational health and Safety legislation;
  • 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.

Can we cash out accrued annual leave?

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, you are only able to cash out accrued annual leave if it is in accordance with your Enterprise Agreement. Please refer to the Intranet for further information.

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.

Travel

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

  • All employees returning from overseas are subject to the Victorian Government public health directions. Requirements will vary depending on an employee’s vaccination status. For further information, visit the mandatory quarantine
  • Paid special leave is not available upon return from any personal overseas travel.
  • Employees traveling overseas for any reason are required to minimise their risk of exposure to COVID-19. This includes:
    • Engaging in good hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette.
    • Monitoring their health closely while overseas and seeking an urgent assessment of any symptoms of COVID-19.
    • When unwell, isolating from others while awaiting assessment.

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 leave. If you have no accrued leave, you will need to speak to your manager about leave without pay.

What if I get COVID-19 while on personal overseas travel, do I qualify for special paid leave?

Special paid leave is not available for personal overseas travel. Where you are unwell while overseas you may be eligible for personal leave in accordance with your relevant Enterprise Agreement.

Overseas Business travel

Where work-related travel is deemed necessary, a risk assessment must be undertaken by the senior manager in consultation with the employee(s).

In undertaking a risk assessment, specific considerations should include:

  • Ensuring travel restrictions and advice are reviewed not only for the destination country, but also for countries that the employee may transit through.
  • Not only the case numbers being reported in these countries, but also the level of health care available in these countries if they were to become unwell and of variable travel restrictions for entry and exit from the country.
  • Availability and the level of travel insurance provided, especially coverage of medical and evacuation costs should an employee become unwell with COVID-19 in the countries to be visited.
  • Implications for the Monash Health if an employee (well or unwell) has to be quarantined on their return.

The same applies for overseas travel for education or research purposes.

Interstate Business travel

Individual State and Territory Governments can apply their own restrictions, including closing their state borders. Where border crossing restrictions are in place, travelling to such a destination may result in the employee having to complete a self-quarantine (self-isolation) or mandatory quarantine period at their destination.

As a result, managers and employees must be mindful that travel restrictions may be applied by State and Territory Governments, including at short notice.

Continuing Medical Education Support for Medical Specialists

CME related leave and expenses will be managed as per Department of Health Victoria’s advice (see below).

Please contact Ranju Chate to discuss your circumstance and for further details about the process for reimbursement.

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

Employees working in hotel quarantine

Monash Health requires employees working in hotel quarantine to not return to work for a period of 14 days from their last date of work in hotel quarantine.  The Employee is entitled to use accrued leave entitlements for this period and will not be entitled to paid special leave.

Long service leave at half pay

When can you use long service leave at half pay?

There are limited circumstances under which managers can support or recommend long service leave (LSL) at half pay. All LSL at half pay must have the approval of the Chief Executive.

LSL at half pay may be considered for parental leave.

The other circumstances in which managers can recommend or support LSL at half pay and Leave Without Pay (LWOP) are:

  • Tragic circumstances – loss of an immediate family member, where the employee requires more time to recover and has exhausted their personal leave.
  • Employee diagnosed with a serious illness – where the employee has exhausted their personal leave but wants to remain employed with Monash Health as long as possible. Medical evidence may be requested to support the application.
  • Employee caring for an immediate family member with a serious illness – where the employee has exhausted their personal leave. Medical evidence may be requested to support the application.
  • Employee is unable to return from overseas due to COVID-19 border restrictions.
  • Employee is unable to work due to COVID-19 acquired outside of work and has exhausted their personal leave balances.
  • Employee is only able to work in a single location due to COVID-19 restrictions, has elected to work at another organisation, and requires extended leave from Monash Health.