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IEU(SA) Member action sees employer commit to COVID-19 Special Leave with Pay

Union members at Our Lady of La Vang School, with the assistance of their IEU Organiser, have been collectively raising concerns about their safety at work.

This year a number of members at the school have contracted COVID-19 and the evidence shows this is from being exposed to the virus at work. There have been a number of cases of COVID-19 at the school with students and staff falling ill. A survey of members highlighted that staff were regularly having to work with students who had attended school unwell.

Due to the employer’s isolation policies, this has had a financial impact upon employees who have tested positive to COVID-19, as they have been required to isolate for a prescribed period even though they may be asymptomatic and fit for work.

The IEU raised member concerns about the foreseeable risk of injury due to being exposed to COVID-19 at work and the financial impacts of having to take leave if a member tests positive to COVID-19 with CESA.

Due to Member Action we have had wins (which are outlined below) but these are just a first step in addressing our overall concerns:

  1. We have won a commitment that should a staff member not able to attend work due to testing positive for COVID-19 and does not have sufficient paid
    personal/sick leave entitlements or other paid leave entitlements available then they may request working from home or special leave with pay.
  2. A commitment that they will conduct a site review and risk assessment during Term 4. This assessment will be done in consultation with all staff both in development of the risk assessment and on its implementation.

The members at Our Lady of La Vang must be commended for their work to make their school safer for staff and students.

Do you have Health and Safety Concerns at your work place?

Research has shown that union work places are safer than non-union work places. In schools and preschools, this means that sites where the union members work together to address safety issues, it is a safer for staff and students, with better learning conditions.

If you have safety issues that pose a foreseeable risk of injury to staff and students at your school, the IEU can assist you in acting to remove these hazards.


  1. If you identify that there are health and safety concerns at work, document and lists the risks to safety.
  2. Contact the IEU for advice and help if needed.
  3. Unless their urgent risk to safety meet as a union sub branch at your site, to discuss the issues and identity how many members are affected and how you might address the concerns.
  4. Talk to other staff members about the problems, and encourage them to join our union team to help make the workplace safer.
  5. Raise the concerns as a sub branch with your school, outlining your proposed solutions and expected timeframes for change.