As the State, Country and World transitions to ‘living with COVID’ the reporting requirements outlining when businesses have to report cases of COVID in employees to SafeWork NSW have been changed and clarified and detailed guidance has been developed for businesses on what to do if a worker tests positive in the workplace.

 New Requirements

 From 21 January 2022, employers only need to report to SafeWork NSW if a worker is hospitalised or dies as the result of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. The previous obligation to report all COVID-19 cases contracted in the workplace has been removed through an exemption to the current Public Health Order and SafeWork’s Statement of Regulatory Intent. 

 The SafeWork NSW Statement recognises work health and safety legislation requirements of businesses to report workplace injuries, but eases these requirements for COVID-19 recognising the reporting burden on businesses given the current number of COVID-19 cases.

 How to know if an employee contracted COVID-19 at work

 If the employee was exposed to someone in the workplace who has tested positive to COVID-19, it should be assumed they may have caught COVID-19 at work.

 This may include other employees, customers or visitors who were in the workplace before they developed symptoms or tested positive.

 What to do if an employee who tests positive for COVID-19 has been in the workplace

 Guidance including business responsibilities, workplace cleaning and when employees are returning to work is available at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/business

 It is important to note that workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 can leave self-isolation after 7 days if they do not have a sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath.

 Employees do not need to test before leaving self-isolation. 

 “Businesses may choose to add additional screening elements, such as a negative RAT before returning to work, but it is not a requirement of the government, so the rapid antigen test would need to be provided by the business.  The Government has urged businesses to avoid setting return to work requirement like a negative PCR test, that are unnecessary and place an undue burden on the health system” explained ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.

 Here to Help

 HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business.  They are provided as general information for you to consider and do not constitute advice.  You should seek further advice on your situation by contacting your legal advisor.  ACAPMA members can access resources and receive advice, guidance and support from the ACAPMA employment professionals via employment@acapma.com.au  , it is free for members.  ACAPMA Membership delivers this and more benefits, see; https://acapma.com.au/membership/   for more information.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)
ACAPMA

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