Check your relevant state or territory government website for details about what applies to you, including any ongoing isolation or reporting requirements for some high-risk industries. Go to Check your COVID-19 restrictions to find your government website.
You may still be required to isolate in some circumstances, for example workers in high-risk settings such as aged care, disability care, Aboriginal healthcare and hospital care. Other requirements may also apply, for example regarding COVID-19 vaccinations, wearing masks and physical or social distancing. Employers and workers should check for any requirements that apply to them.
Both employers and employees have responsibilities under WHS laws to not put the health and safety of workers and other people like customers and visitors in the workplace at risk. Employees who are sick shouldn’t attend the workplace.
You can find out more about WHS obligations on the Safe Work Australia website, and about the WHS laws that apply in your state or territory at the relevant state or territory WHS regulator.
Employers may be able to direct an employee not to attend the workplace when they’re sick. If this happens, the employee isn’t entitled to be paid unless they take paid sick leave or some other type of paid leave.
Some employers might want an employee not to attend work as a precaution. If an employer tells a full-time or part-time employee not to come to work as a precaution, the employee has to be paid.
Employers may be able to direct an employee to attend work if the direction is lawful and reasonable in the circumstances.
Some employees may want to stay home as a precaution. If an employee doesn’t want to attend the workplace, for example because of health concerns, they should talk with their employer to find a workable solution.
If an employee doesn’t come to an arrangement with their employer, or doesn’t use paid leave, then they aren’t entitled to be paid for choosing not to attend work.
Employees need to comply with directions from their employer to perform other appropriate and safe work if that direction is lawful and reasonable, or there could be disciplinary consequences.
If an employee is sick with COVID-19 or needs to care for a family or household member, they may be able to take paid or unpaid sick or carer’s leave.
Full-time and part-time employees can take paid sick leave if they can’t work because they’re sick with COVID-19. They can also take paid carer’s leave when they need to look after an immediate family or household member who is sick with COVID-19 or has an unexpected emergency. If they don’t have any paid sick or carer’s leave left, they can take 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave on each occasion. See Paid sick and carer’s leave and Unpaid carer’s leave.
An employee needs to let their employer know as soon as possible, and give reasonable evidence that they aren’t fit for work, if their employer asks for it. Learn more at Notice and medical certificates.
Casual employees aren’t entitled to paid sick or carer’s leave. They are paid a casual loading instead of accumulating paid leave entitlements.
Casuals who need to care for an immediate family member or household member who is sick can take 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave on each occasion. Notice and evidence requirements can apply. See Unpaid carer’s leave.
If a casual employee is sick and can’t attend work, they should discuss their options with their employer. This may include staying away until they’re well.
From 14 October new financial support will be available to casual workers in some sectors. Details of any new financial support will be announced and made available from Services Australia.
Casual and contract workers in Victoria may be able to access the Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee payment.
On 14 October 2022, the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment ended. Workers can still claim if their isolation period started on or before the date payment ended.