What pay is an employee entitled to if they need to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19?
If an employee is self-isolating because they are sick with COVID-19, they are entitled to personal leave.
The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) does not provide for circumstances in which an employee is required to self-isolate (perhaps upon return from personal travel, or where they have come into direct contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or if they are high risk, e.g. have chronic health conditions). In these circumstances, it is likely best practice for the employer and employee to come to an agreed arrangement, which would vary on a case-by-case basis. Can the employee work remotely from home? If not, they should be entitled to access annual leave or long service leave. If accrued leave has been exhausted, they should be entitled to unpaid leave for the self-isolation period.
Unless an employment agreement, award or enterprise agreement stipulates otherwise, you may not be required to agree to the employee working from home. However, you may want to consider your health and safety obligations when deciding whether or not to comply with such a request.
We recommend seeking formal legal advice regarding your specific circumstances.