26 September 2023

APSC Circular sets COVID attendance rules

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The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has issued a new Circular to guide decision-making across the Australian Public Service (APS) relating to work attendance in the continuing pandemic.

The Circular also covers accessibility of leave conditions and other flexible working arrangements.

Circular 2022/1: COVID-19 Leave Arrangements supports APS employees dealing with COVID-19 while delivering essential services to the community.

It updates and replaces Circular 2020/1.

In a statement, the APSC said the Circular called for both APS employers and employees to reduce the risk of further spread of COVID-19.

“They must comply with the exposure, testing and isolation requirements as set out in public health advice issued by the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments,” it said.

The Commission said, in pursuit of this, it was the responsibility of Agencies to regularly review the information supplied by the Commonwealth Department of Health, and the State and Territory Health Departments.

“Where an employee believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 through close or other contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, they should contact the National Coronavirus Helpline,” it said.

“In general, employees should get tested, seek medical help if unwell and follow relevant public health advice.”

The APSC said employees who had tested positive, were symptomatic and unable to perform work should be given access to paid personal leave for personal illness in accordance with the Agency’s workplace arrangements.

“If the employee has insufficient credits to cover the medically-advised period, paid discretionary leave (or equivalent) should be provided,” it said.

The APSC noted that labour hire workers were not Australian Government employees and were generally the employees of labour hire companies.

“Here, leave and pay conditions remain a matter for the labour hire company,” it said.

The new Circular can be accessed at this PS News link with the APSC recommending it be read in conjunction with Circular 2020/3, which can be accessed at this link.

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