Pay and Leave changes due to COVID-19

Pay and Leave changes due to COVID-19

Pay and leave rules have been updated by Fair Work Australia, due to the impact of the Coronavirus on employees.


The Fair Work Commission announced a paid pandemic leave of up to 2 weeks for the following types of award on 29 July 2020, which will end on 29 March 2021:

  • Aged Care Award
  • Nurses Award in the aged care industry
  • Health Services Award in the aged care industry

As a result of these changes, employees from these industries who are affected by COVID-19 are potentially entitled to various paid and unpaid leave policies under the following circumstances:

  • have been diagnosed with coronavirus
  • have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus
  • need to get tested or are waiting for a coronavirus test result
  • are prohibited from leaving their home because of an enforceable government direction
  • have arrived from overseas or interstate and need to self-isolate because of an enforceable government direction.

Paid pandemic leave applies to all types of employees including full-time, part-time and casual employees, where an eligible casual employee needs to be employed on a regular and systematic basis.


The Commission has also varied a number of awards that allows employees to take unpaid pandemic leave or take annual leave at half pay to manage the impact of coronavirus, including:

  • as a result of being required to self-isolate by government or medical authorities, or on the advice of a medical practitioner; or
  • by measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the pandemic (for example, an enforceable government direction closing non-essential businesses)

Both employer and employee need to agree for the scheme and agreement need to be in writing and kept as record. Annual leave should be accumulated as usual even if employees are under the special agreement. Please check the link for the list of eligible awards and the end date of the leave policy.