IMPORTANT UPDATE: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our FAQs and Factsheets provide information and general advice which is current at the time of publication. With government initiatives and legislation changing quite rapidly, we will continue to service our members by updating our information as soon as possible. We encourage you to visit our Member Portal for these updates or contact our WAS team for specific advice on 1300 273 762 or at was@professionalsaustralia.org.au


With the continued spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout Australia, Professionals Australia would like to provide members with some guidance around the work issues that will potentially arise.

Given Coronavirus is now a pandemic, in order to maintain a healthy and safe workplace, it is essential all cooperate.

Members are encouraged to follow guidelines to minimise the risk of spread of the disease.

This includes:
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Self-isolate if you have been in known contact with a person who has coronavirus.

The following are some potential scenarios that may mean you are unable to attend work:

  • a requirement for you and/or a dependent member of your family to be isolated
  • the need to take to look after children due to school or childcare centre closures
  • a trip overseas to an at risk area which may require isolation for 2 weeks
  • an infection in one of our workplaces

Professionals Australia calls on all employers to commit to the following Safe Work Guidelines:

  1. To help avoid the spread of coronavirus, employers should immediately implement alternative work options including work from home where appropriate and making greater use of telephone and video conferencing to avoid the need for direct contact with other members of the community until such time as the risk of infection decreases.

  2. Where employees are required to self-isolate due to travel or possible exposure, or where workplaces are temporarily shut down as a precautionary measure:

  3. Where an employee is vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus because of an existing medical condition and their workplace is not requiring staff to self-isolate they should upon production of a medical certificate to be able to work from home or if that is not practicable receive special paid leave.

  4. Where an employee has contracted Coronavirus or is the primary carer of a dependent who has contracted Coronavirus, the employee should be granted sick or carers leave to cover the period of illness. Where an employee has exhausted their sick leave entitlement, employers should provide the employee with paid special leave to cover the period of illness.

  5. Where an employee is the primary carer of a dependent whose care facility (school, aged-care facility or child care provider) has been temporarily closed or faces a significant transport disruption due to COVID-19, that employee should be granted carers leave for the effected period, or until they are able to make alternate care arrangements. If that employee is unable to perform meaningful work from home during that period and the carers leave has been exhausted, they should be provided special paid leave.

  6. It is essential casual employees and contractors, who may not have an entitlement to leave, should be provided special paid leave in all the circumstances outlined above.
This is a developing and ever-changing situation, with several unknown factors. Our advice may change as the circumstances change, and we will continue to keep all our members updated on this issue.

Contact us
In the meantime members should contact Workplace Advice and Support (130027362 was@professionalsaustralia.org.au) for advice and assistance if they are experiencing difficulties or if you are uncertain as to your workplace rights. You can access up-to-date information on COVID-19 here – this page is updated daily by the Department of Health and contains factsheets on how to prevent spread of coronavirus, and the up-to-date information on countries requiring self-isolation, etc.

Doing the right thing
Many employers have already advised they will act responsibly during this unprecedented event. It is essential members work together:
  1. Check what your employers is doing to achieve a safe working environment
  2. Advise Professionals Australia of your employers’ position
We will keep you and the community informed of what we expect will be a positive approach. If members have questions or concerns, please make contact. We are here to support you. Supporting each other It is essential this challenge is approached with reason, rationality and responsibility- relying on truth, facts and knowledge.

Many of our members, such as our pharmacists and scientists, will be at the forefront of dealing with and solving this virus. In meeting this challenge let's support and care for each other.