COVID-19 Pandemic Measures – “Schedule X” extended

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As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, the Fair Work Commission has extended the operation of Schedule X till 31st December 2021. As an added measure during COVID–19 Pandemic under section 157 of the Fair Act 2009 number of awards have been added in Schedule X.

This means that in some awards, unpaid pandemic leave, annual leave at half pays, be taken prior to 31 December 2021, and this may end after that date.

In March 2020, many modern awards were inserted in Schedule X in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides two weeks of unpaid pandemic leave for an employee who:

  1. Was required by government, or medical authorities, or on the advice of a medical practitioner, to self-isolate, and as a result was unable to work, or,
  2. Was otherwise prevented from working by measures taken by the government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schedule X might be utilized in a situation where an employee is required to self-isolate because of a COVID-19 test or because the government has locked down particular suburbs or areas that been designated recognized COVID-19 hot spots, preventing employees from attending work.

An employee taking unpaid pandemic leave as per Schedule X is recognized as having the benefit to workplace right, as per the general protection’s sections of the Fair Work Act 2009.

It gives you the flexibility to provide unpaid pandemic leave for your employees and in some awards, allows for annual leave to be taken on half a day.

Steps
  • Until 31st December 2021 if your award has been extended then you can continue to use Schedule X.
  • If the Schedule is already removed from their award and during this period if any employee is on annual leave at half pay or unpaid pandemic leave then they can continue until the period of leave ends.

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