FWC re­jects paid COVID leave call

Pharmacy Daily - - Front Page -

PHAR­MACY work­ers cov­ered by the Phar­macy In­dus­try Award 2020 will not be en­ti­tled to paid pan­demic leave should they be re­quired to self-iso­late due to COVID-19.

Re­ject­ing the pro­posal made by health unions, the Fair Work Com­mis­sion (FWC) ruled that phar­macy work­ers were not at “an el­e­vated risk of in­fec­tion”, when com­pared to other retail em­ploy­ees.

We do not consider that there is a ne­ces­sity to es­tab­lish a paid pan­demic leave en­ti­tle­ment for any em­ployee who has ac­tu­ally con­tracted COVID-19 as a re­sult of in­fec­tion in the work­place and has to take time off work, since the em­ployee (even if en­gaged on a ca­sual ba­sis) will be en­ti­tled to pay­ment un­der the ap­pli­ca­ble work­ers’ com­pen­sa­tion scheme in that cir­cum­stance,” the FWC said.

In its sub­mis­sion ar­gu­ing against the in­tro­duc­tion of paid pan­demic leave, the Phar­macy Guild of Aus­tralia said phar­macy em­ploy­ees were likely to face a lower risk of in­fec­tion than other retail work­ers due to the “hy­giene re­quire­ments and the brevity of con­tact with par­tic­u­lar cus­tomers”.

How­ever, FWC doc­u­ments noted that Ter­ryWhite Chem­mart Ar­mi­dale trainee phar­macy as­sis­tant, Letita Bryant, had given ev­i­dence that there had been con­firmed cases of COVID-19 in Ar­mi­dale and some cus­tomers at the phar­macy were not prac­tis­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing.

The tri­bunal noted that, “her ev­i­dence was that if she needed to iso­late or felt COVID-19 symp­toms, she would feel pres­sured to con­tinue work­ing un­less she tested pos­i­tive for the virus”.

“She said that if she had to go un­paid for two weeks be­cause she was self-iso­lat­ing, she would be un­able to pay her rent, bills and gro­ceries, which would sig­nif­i­cantly af­fect her house­hold,” the FWC said.

Dis­pen­sary tech­ni­cian, Lyn­delle Pot­ter, re­ported that the phar­macy that she works in had im­ple­mented a num­ber of mea­sures to mit­i­gate against the risk of in­fec­tion, in­clud­ing floor mark­ings, re­minders to sani­tise reg­u­larly and the pro­vi­sion of face masks for staff.

How­ever, she noted that some cus­tomers openly coughed in the phar­macy, and ex­pressed con­cerns over hav­ing no in­come in the event of be­ing re­quired to self-iso­late.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.