Policy and Guidelines
Employees who contract or who are at risk of contracting an infectious disease, may be entitled to infectious diseases leave. In general, infectious diseases leave would be approved for poliomyelitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, infectious hepatitis, German measles (rubella), chicken pox (varicella), measles (morbilli), mumps (porrolitis), rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, whooping cough, diphtheria, meningitis, typhoid and head lice (pediculosis).
Where a medical practitioner, approved by the Secretary, certifies that an employee has contracted an illness as a direct result of exposure to a prescribed infectious disease during the course of their duties, the employee may be granted paid leave of up to 3 months without deduction from personal leave. This does not apply in the case of poliomyelitis, pulmonary tuberculosis or infectious hepatitis.
Where a medical practitioner, approved by the Secretary, certifies that an employee has contracted poliomyelitis, pulmonary tuberculosis or infectious hepatitis as a direct result of exposure to the disease during the course of their duties, the employee may be granted up to 6 months personal leave with full pay and 6 months personal leave on half pay. Where personal leave credits are insufficient to cover the absence paid leave may be granted provided the total period of paid leave does not exceed the maximum entitlement of infectious diseases leave. A full-time employee (pro rata for part-time employment) will resume duty with a credit balance of not less than 182.4 hrs (24 days) personal leave.
Applications for infectious diseases leave must be supported by a medical certificate specifying the disease and including a statement that the employee has contracted the illness directly attributable to an infection at the workplace. In determining applications for infectious diseases leave the delegate must be satisfied that there have been recent cases of the infectious disease in the workplace and that it is probable that the employee has been exposed to that disease.
Exclusion from the workplace due to legal restrictions
Where a medical practitioner approved by the Secretary certifies that an employee is unable to attend for duty due to restrictions imposed by law as a result of contact with a person suffering from an infectious disease, the employee may be granted leave with full pay without deduction from personal leave credits for the period the law requires that employee to be absent from duty.
At risk employees
For an employee who may be at greater risk of contracting an infectious disease (for example, a person who has a known immune deficiency) they should be advised to seek advice from their medical practitioner in relation to the risks associated with contracting the particular infectious disease.
If the medical practitioner advises that there is an unacceptable risk, the principal is required to take steps to remove the person to a safe work location. When it is not possible to relocate the person to a safe work environment, the principal should contact the Regional Director.
Workers' compensation and infectious diseases
None of the above precludes an employee from making a claim for workers' compensation in the event of contracting an infectious disease in the course of performing duties. In such circumstances, the employee must apply for infectious diseases leave in addition to lodging a workers' compensation claim.
Reviewed 14 May 2020