26 September 2023

Circular sets out PS response to virus

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Public Sector Labour Relations has issued a Circular setting out changes to workplace arrangements in the WA public sector to ensure Departments and Agencies can stay open for business during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In Circular 7/2020 Government-initiated changes related to COVID-19 – workforce arrangements, the Executive Director of Public Sector Labour Relations, Alex Lyon says some public sector employees would be able to keep doing their usual work in different ways during the health crisis.

“In others, employees may be directed by employers or the State Emergency Coordinator to temporarily undertake different duties, work at a different workplace, or not perform work,” Mr Lyon says.

“Employers must identify how the skills and capabilities of their employees can be applied to maintain Government services or support the Government’s response to and economic recovery following COVID-19.”

He says permanent employees might be required to work at home, directed to temporarily undertake different duties at the employee’s usual workplace or work at another workplace, including at another public sector Agency.

“In some cases they might be advised to temporarily cease work, in which case they must be paid the salary they would otherwise have been entitled to for the duration of the changed arrangements,” My Lyon says.

He says the same work arrangements might apply to casual employees, especially those engaged to perform any work that could be undertaken by an existing permanent or fixed-term contract employee.

“Casual employees who are not required to work because of changed service delivery arrangements are entitled to access COVID-19 leave.”

He says each Agency should review its use of temporary labour hire arrangements and cease any that could be undertaken by an existing permanent or fixed-term contract employee.

Circular 7/2020 can be accessed on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website at this PS News link.

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