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Information for APS employees

What you need to know about coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath. The virus can spread from person to person, but good hygiene can prevent infection.

To find out who is at risk and what you should do if you think you have COVID-19 refer to the Department of Health website.

Working arrangements during COVID-19

Many areas will experience a change in current work practice as a result of COVID-19. Some work areas may experience a significantly reduced workload, while other areas may experience a significant increase in workload. Some areas will not be able to access systems remotely. Some critical areas of the APS will require more staff, and non-critical staff may be moved to assist these areas.

The following information is currently available to assist APS employees

Leave arrangements during COVID-19

Circular 2020/1: COVID-19 leave arrangements provides guidance to:

  1. assist in addressing employee questions about COVID-19 and what response the employer may take; and
  2. guide decision making around attendance at work and accessing leave provisions, if employees present with symptoms or indicate they are at risk of having been exposed to COVID-19.

APS employees who contract the coronavirus

If an employee advises they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical practitioner, the employee should be given access to paid Personal Leave for personal illness in accordance with the agency’s workplace arrangements.

If the employee has insufficient credits to cover the medically advised period, paid Discretionary Leave (or equivalent) should be provided. Refer to Circular 2020/1: COVID-19 leave arrangements for additional information.

Help reduce the spread of COVID-19

Workplace principles for minimising the spread of COVID-19 aim to minimise the outbreak’s impact on the:

  • health of Australians,
  • health system, and
  • economy.

A key strategy in its approach is to reduce and slow disease transmission by isolating confirmed or potential cases.

Current protocols for managing the workplace in the event of identifying a confirmed or potential case is to subsequently identify close contacts, who also are required to self-isolate, close contact being defined as:

  • greater than 15 minutes face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed case in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case, or
  • sharing of a closed space with a confirmed case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 24 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed case.

Managing social distancing within the workplace

Agencies should refer to COVID-19 - Social distancing and transmission reduction, advice for agency managers to inform decision making on how best to manage their workforce.

Work travel advice for visiting remote communities

Measures to reduce non-essential access to remote/isolated communities and to ensure a simple self-assessment of risk and adherence to public health advice for essential travel can significantly help to protect the health and wellbeing of Australians living in remote communities.

Refer to the fact sheet Information for workers from Australian Government Agencies, services and programs visiting remote communities for further information.

If you’re concerned

If you have any concerns or if you are displaying symptoms speak with your manager, go home and contact either your GP or Health Direct on 1800 022 222.

Additional advice

Agencies seeking further information contact covid19 [at] apsc.gov.au

Last reviewed: 
3 April 2020