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