What do we need to pay employees during a self-isolation period?
Can you please advise what pay an employee is entitled to should self-isolation be either voluntarily or involuntary be required 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 upon return from personal travel, or where they have come into direct contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. 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.
Considerations that may need to be taken into account include whether the employee can 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.
If an employee is voluntarily self-isolating and has not been overseas in the last 14 days or come into contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (these are some of the current circumstances in which the government is directing people to self-isolate), then again, given the circumstances, it may be best to speak to the employee about the options outlined above.