COVID-19 coronavirus: Managing COVID-19 in the workplace

Information and advice for employers and employees to prepare and manage COVID-19 in the workplace.
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We all have a role to play in managing the spread of COVID-19, especially when it comes to the workplace. There are a few things that we can do to prepare and keep ourselves and our community safe.

Information for employees

I have COVID-19. How do I to tell my workplace?

If you are an employee and you test positive for COVID-19, you should:

  1. Phone someone who manages the staff in your workplace. For example, your manager or HR representative.
  2. Email your workplace so you and your employer have the details in writing.
  3. Notify any staff you were in contact with for an extended time during your infectious period. Encourage them to watch for symptoms.

If you are well enough, organise to work from home until symptoms resolve, if possible. Your employer may request that you provide evidence of a positive test result.

What evidence can I show my employer of a positive result?

The following forms of evidence of COVID-19 infection are acceptable:

  • Photograph of your positive RAT
  • PCR test result from My Health Record
  • PCR test result text message

How to manage a positive case at work

All employees should monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and were in contact with other staff members during your infectious period, let them know to watch for symptoms.

Employers must maintain the privacy and confidentiality of an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19. The employer cannot disclose the identity of the case to other employees unless they have permission to do so.

It is strongly encouraged that positive cases stay home until symptoms resolve.

What leave do I take for COVID-19?

It’s important to allow yourself time to recover from COVID-19. The Fair Work Act protects employees from losing their job because of temporary absence due to illness or injury.

Full-time and part-time employees can take paid sick leave if they are unable to work while positive with COVID-19. If you have no paid sick leave left, it is recommended that you discuss all other paid or unpaid leave options with your employer. Learn more from Fair Work Australia about sick leave during COVID-19.

Financial Support

If you need financial help because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for support. Visit Services Australia for the latest information on payment and support options.

Information for employers

Employers and employees have a shared responsibility in managing COVID-19 in the workplace. It is important that everyone continues to take precautions:

  • Employees who are symptomatic do not attend work
  • Where possible, support employees to work from home
  • Wear a mask as needed
  • Practise good hand hygiene and sneeze etiquette
  • Regularly clean your workstation and equipment
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Make use of ventilation and open the windows to let fresh air in

Employers should continue to communicate with staff, suppliers, and customers about COVID-19. Some businesses may set their own guidelines, particularly in high-risk settings such as hospitals and aged care facilities. As well as the precautions above, these guidelines may include:

  • Work from home and isolation rules for people who have tested positive to COVID-19
  • Requiring proof of vaccination

How to support your employee’s return to work

To support staff returning to work after they have recovered from COVID-19:

  • Maintain confidentiality of staff members confirmed to have COVID-19
  • Invite staff to discuss any concerns about COVID-19 in the workplace
  • Inform staff it is safe for their colleagues who return to work if they no longer have symptoms
  • Remind staff they can choose to wear a mask at work if it helps them feel more comfortable

Your premises

  • Continue the effective practises you utilised during the pandemic.
  • Optimise indoor ventilation and ensure mechanical ventilation systems are regularly inspected, maintained and cleaned.
  • Utilise outdoor spaces where possible
  • Maintain frequent cleaning and disinfection, especially in public areas and for ‘high touch’ items 
  • Encourage physical distancing – for example, through use of markers on the floor when queuing, and one-way entrances and exits to avoid congestion
  • Display clear signage to promote healthy hygiene habits
  • Provide hand sanitiser where appropriate, including at the entrance/exit 
  • Encourage contactless payment, and clean EFTPOS machines regularly. 

Your customers

  • If appropriate, encourage customers to make a booking. When sending a reminder, ask them to reschedule if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. 

Helpful additional resources

More information

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get paid leave if I test positive for COVID-19?

Full-time and part-time workers are eligible for paid sick leave if they are unwell to work due to COVID-19. If you do not have any more paid sick leave, discuss other leave options with your employer. Casual workers and contractors may not be eligible for paid leave entitlements.

How many days of sick leave do I get for COVID-19?

You should take as much time as you need until your acute symptoms resolve. If you feel well enough to work, negotiate with your employer to work from home, if possible.

Can I attend work if I have COVID-19?

Prevent the virus from spreading through your workplace by staying home until your symptoms resolve.

Can my employer ask for a proof of positive test result?

Yes, your employer may request proof of your positive test result.