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Covid Lock Down Briefing – 20 July 2021

By now you will be aware that SA has gone into a 7-day lockdown from 6pm Tuesday 20 July.

Schools will be closed for normal activity, but may be staffed by skeleton staff to cater for the children of essential workers and vulnerable students.

Government schools will start remote learning Thursday after a preparation day on Wednesday, but many non-government schools will be able to swing into remote learning straight away.

It is a reasonable expectation that people who are unable to attend the workplace due to either:

  • Personal requirement to isolate, or,
  • School closure;

are provided with the opportunity to work from home and be paid as normal. If one is working, one definitely needs to be paid no matter where the work occurs.

Catholic Education has issued a FAQ sheet which (in part) says
“During 2020, when individual whole school closures or system wide closures of Catholic schools occurred, permanent staff and casual staff who had work hours in the period under consideration, were paid their normal salaries (initially for a period of up to two weeks).  It is the intention to replicate this offering to Diocesan school staff, if required, in 2021.”

This approach is supported by the IEU. The IEU position is that there is no immediate need to stand down staff as there is generally no immediate loss of income to schools even if staff are underutilised.

As much as the personal use of “sick leave” is for situations where the employee is actually unwell, carer’s leave is accessible to provide care for a family or household member because of personal illness or an “unexpected emergency”.

The requirement to care for a child in isolation may constitute an “unexpected emergency” but this may need to be legally tested.

At this stage there is no announcement of a “Job Keeper” income support package.

If there is talk of stand down without pay at any school, it is very important that members contact the IEU as soon as possible.

IEU staff will be working remotely but accessible by phone, 8410 0122 – if your call is not answered immediately, leave a voice message and we will action this ASAP, or email

If an employee can demonstrate that they most likely caught COVID at work, then the Infectious Diseases clause in EAs would apply even though COVID is not specifically listed.

We learned a lot with last year’s lock down so hopefully this time it will be less traumatic and of short duration.

Glen Seidel