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Can I Be Sacked For Contracting Coronavirus And Getting Sick?

Can I be sacked for contracting coronavirus and getting sick?

Can I be sacked for contracting coronavirus is a question being asked by many Australian workers.

And the answer is no, according to employment lawyer Charlotte Campbell from Dismissals ‘R’ Us. 

“You cannot be sacked for getting sick, including contracting coronavirus,” she said.

Sacked for coronavirus unlawful

The Fair Work Act makes it unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against a worker who is sick, including sacking them.

Furthermore, it is unlawful to take adverse action against an employee who takes a temporary absence from work because of illness.

“A temporary absence from work because of illness is a protected right under workplace laws,” Ms Campbell said.

“Full-time and part-time workers receive 10 days sick or carer’s leave each year, which accrues year on year.”

Ms Campbell said workers sacked for getting sick with coronavirus will be eligible for a General Protections Dismissal (GPD) claim, and possible compensation.

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Casual workers

Ms Campbell says casual workers do not enjoy the same protection.

A casual worker’s entitlement is two days of unpaid sick or carer’s leave, but additionally they receive a special loading on top of their regular wage.

“Casuals are not eligible for paid sick leave, however, during this current coronavirus crisis, a number of companies have announced they will pay staff affected by the virus,” she said.

For example:

  • Woolworths
  • K-Mart
  • Officeworks
  • Bunnings
  • The Commonwealth Bank
  • Westpac Bank
  • ANZ Bank
  • Telstra

Employees sacked for getting sick should seek urgent expert advice

Ms Campbell wants any worker sacked for being sick, including contracting coronavirus, to contact her immediately.

“There are strict time limits when it comes to filing unfair dismissal and general protections claims,” she said.

“Therefore, if you’ve had adverse action taken against you as a result of illness, don’t delay and get in touch with us as soon as possible.”

Contact our team at Dismissals ‘R’ Us on

1800 434 733

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