WHAT IF I CATCH CORONAVIRUS AT WORK?

There are guidelines dealing with how to keep employees safe from the outbreak of coronavirus. Some people think that getting coronavirus guarantees them 2 weeks off work because this is what the World Health Organisation recommends as the period of time for isolation and monitoring, if you’re suspected of having been infected.

It is thought that coronavirus spreads in a similar way to the flu. Most people may get a mild case of coronavirus and make a complete recovery, while others more seriously infected may require hospital care, or even die. Those people most at risk of serious illness or death are the elderly, people with diabetes or other pre-existing heart and lung conditions and people with weakened immune systems.

When a person who has coronavirus coughs, sneezes or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of those droplets will fall on nearby surfaces, such as desks, tables and telephones. By touching the contaminated surfaces, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth, the virus can be transmitted.

Contamination can even occur by standing within one metre of an infected person and breathing in droplets that are coughed or exhaled.

It is recommended that workplaces are kept hygienic by regularly wiping down desks, tables, keyboards and telephones, making hand santiser available to employees and making tissues available to anybody developing a cough or a runny nose.

If you become ill at work, you will be able to take time off as sick leave. If you have returned from overseas, you should monitor your symptoms for 14 days and check your temperature twice a day. If someone becomes sick at work they should be isolated and health authorities contacted.

According to Fair Work Australia full time and part time employees who can’t work because they are sick are entitled to paid sick leave. If you need to take time off to look after a sick family member then you are entitled to take paid carer’s leave. You can take unpaid carer’s leave if you have no sick leave or carer’s leave left.

If you want to stay at home as a precaution, then you will need to make arrangements with your employer to work from home or take some kind of paid or unpaid leave. If you need to stay home because you are ill then you will need a medical certificate from your doctor. If your employers directs you to stay at home, then you are entitled to be paid while you are subject to the direction.

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