COVID-19 Circuit Breaker

19 November 2020

Member Rights & Responsibilities
During “Circuit Breaker”

Firstly, everyone – employer and employee – has a responsibility to comply with the lock down provisions in spirit and in detail, inconvenient or not.

Schools are closed to all children except for children of essential workers, or where a child is considered vulnerable. All community activities, including business, professional, educational, academic and government activities, must cease operations during the defined period, unless the activity may be carried out in accordance with the direction or does not involve leaving home.

A person may leave home for the purpose of undertaking duties as an essential worker, which means they perform work which is essential for the continued operation of any of the essential operations/businesses. As there will be a vastly reduced amount of “essential” teaching work to be done on site, only a skeleton crew should be required on site and other staff should work from home where practical to comply with the “circuit breaker” rationale. Selecting staff for a “skeleton crew” will require consultation and accommodation of individual circumstances.

It would be a difficult case to maintain that remote learning could only happen from the worksite, with nobody working from home. That would defeat the purpose of the stay at home directive.

Whilst staff can be directed to not attend the workplace, they should still hold themselves available for reasonable alternate duties on normal work days. The direction to stay home is not the same as a formal “Stand Down” under the Act. Normal pay should continue and no leave entitlements should be utilised.

Thursday 19th and Friday 20th are being treated as school closure days in Catholic schools, with no teaching on site or remotely, and no pays being affected. If any member does receive a formal “Stand Down” notice (most likely citing authority under the Act) the IEU should be contacted urgently.

If a member considers that their health condition makes them vulnerable in the heightened COVID risk environment, they should contact the employer urgently to arrange for suitable work from home. Absence should not be debited from personal leave unless the person is actually unwell and unable to work. Documentation from a treating medical practitioner may be required to substantiate claims that attendance at the workplace presents an unacceptable risk to the worker’s health (or the health of members of the worker’s household).

Ongoing casual, part time or contract employment would not be a barrier to continued payment and any pre-arranged TRT days should be honoured.

Although the wearing of masks is not compulsory at this stage, it would not necessarily be unreasonable for an employer to require the wearing of masks in certain situations as a WHS issue.

As we are operating in unusual circumstances, it will be rare that black and white rules will always produce the best solution. The first step in getting what you want will usually be having a conversation with management.

The IEU can help members frame their requests and negotiate improved outcomes.

Our usual office hours still apply:
M-T, Th-F: 8.30 – 5, Wednesday 10-5 (Staff meeting day).

Our contact details are at right.

18 November 2020


As you are probably now aware South Australia will be implementing a circuit breaker from 12:01 am Thursday, 19 November 2020 for the next six days aiming to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our state.

The IEU will operate ‘business as usual’ but virtual.

As always, we are here to assist members with any questions you may have. In the first instance, the links below my introduction will give you the official news as it comes to hand.

To contact us, we offer these virtual solutions:

  • Ring our office – 84100122 and leave a voice message after the music and introduction. We will then action your message to the appropriate staff member. Please leave your Name, Mobile number and your School Name.


  • Send an email – simply click on the button below and email us with your enquiry and the appropriate staff member will reply to you.


Email the IEU – Click here

Our usual office hours still apply:
M-T, Th-F: 8.30 – 5, Wednesday 10-5 (Staff meeting day).

Like yourselves, we will monitor the directives of the SA Health with regards to returning to our office as normal and we will update all members accordingly.

Hopefully we can be through this very quickly and we thank you for your continued resilience and commitment through these testing times.


For information about COVID-19, including the number of cases and geographical locations, and health advice see: