CODE 2, VOL 34, NO 11 : 20 march 2020

COVID-19 leave arrangements confirmed

Following on from previous updates relating to COVID-19 leave arrangements, I can now advise that I have received correspondence from QFES confirming that they will be administratively applying the relevant provisions from Directive 01/20 – Employment Arrangements in the Event of a Health Pandemic to Fire and Rescue.

QFES will be retrospectively applying these provisions from 16 March 2020.

The Directive can be found here

The Office of Industrial Relations has also published an Implementation Guide which can be found here:

I encourage all members to familiarise themselves with both the Directive and the Implementation Guide.

Please find below a brief of the major details –

• All entitlements and conditions in the Award and Certified Agreement continue to apply subject to more beneficial entitlements being provided by the Directive. 

• If you are required to self-isolate in accordance with health advice and you are not sick (and you are not able to undertake flexible work arrangements):

o You may apply for special leave which is granted at the discretion of the Commissioner in accordance with Directive 05/17 – Special Leave.

*Note: QFES have advised that the current QFES delegation limit is extended to allow Assistant Commissioners to approve special leave for a 2-week absence for health-advised self-isolations.

• If you are absent due to illness (i.e. you have contracted COVID-19) and you have exhausted your sick leave balance:

o You will be entitled to a maximum of 20 days paid ‘special pandemic leave’ for use when you are unable to attend work and unable to perform work under flexible working arrangements.

o This also applies to circumstances where you are required to care for an immediate family member or a member of your household who has an actual or suspected viral infection and/or you are required to care for children as a result of school or childcare centres closures (again, you must have exhausted your sick leave balance first).

• Once ‘special pandemic leave’ is exhausted, you will be expected to access your existing annual leave and then long service leave entitlements. 

• The Directive permits early access to pro-rata long service leave, regardless of length of service, when all other paid leave accruals have been exhausted.

• The Commissioner has the discretion to grant up to a maximum 20 days paid ‘special pandemic leave’ to a casual employee.

If you have any questions regarding the above, you should direct them to your Regional HR Officer and/or QFES Employee Relations in the first instance.

John Oliver - General Secretary

Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary 
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD