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Union welcomes Telstra coronavirus leave policy

Your Union has sought further protections for members as we navigate through uncharted territory in relation to the emerging worldwide Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. These conversations continue to occur between your Union and all major employer groups who employ our members.

We are pleased to share that yesterday evening, Telstra agreed to provide additional paid leave entitlements to employees, including casual employees, who may contract, or be exposed to confirmed cases of, COVD-19.

The entitlement in most scenarios is for up to 14 days, with additional extensions available at the discretion of management after assessing individual circumstances.

To summarise, the new policy, known as the Telstra Global Epidemic/Pandemic Leave Policy – COVID-19 provides paid leave once you have exhausted your sick and/or carer’s leave, if an employee: 

  • is required by Telstra or a regulator (i.e. State or Federal health or bio-security authorities) to be isolated or self-quarantined due to COVID-19 (“the virus”), and is unable to work from home; or
  • is not able to attend work because of directions from Telstra or a regulator (e.g. movement into an area or building may be restricted), and is unable to work from home or another location; or
  • is required to provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household who:

-  falls ill because of the virus; or

-  is required to remain in isolation because they may have the virus;

and they do not have access to any or sufficient accrued paid carer’s leave to cover the period of leave OR are based in a country without such an entitlement; or

  • is required to care for a child because of school/care centre closures and they are unable to work from home (due to caring responsibilities and/or the type of work the employee performs); or
  • is diagnosed with the virus or suspected to have the virus and does not have access to any or sufficient paid sick leave entitlement for the period that they are unwell and/or must remain in isolation.

All permanent full-time, part-time, fixed-term and casual employees are eligible to access epidemic/pandemic leave subject to manager approval and meeting relevant evidence requirements set out in the policy. A full copy of the policy is available to download by clicking here and all members are strongly urged to read the conditions carefully.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, your Union will continue to seek the best possible outcomes to mitigate against any negative impact to our members’ employment across all our covered employer groups.

We welcome Telstra’s move to ensure that members will continue to receive an income should their sick and/or carer’s leave be depleted over the course of the emerging threat.

Policies such as this ensure workers comply with the necessary precautions to ensure a swift recovery whilst also minimising preventable impacts on the health and safety of their work colleagues, customers and the wider community – and without the unnecessary fear and anxiety of being unable to meet their families’ financial obligations.

With the World Health Organisation today officially declaring the crisis a pandemic, the time to act is now. Your Union is strongly urging all employers who employ CWU/CEPU members to implement similar arrangements within their workforce.

Should you require assistance with any of the above, please contact your State Branch Official.


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