Our people at increased risk

During this uncertain time it is our priority to support our people. We know that the Coronavirus situation has the potential to create anxiety for employees with existing health conditions and concerns about their level of risk. Having discussions with your manager about your individual situation will enable us to support you in the best way possible.

We encourage our people who are at increased risk of severe illness from a Coronavirus infection to talk with their manager about their circumstances. We encourage managers to assess, and manage where possible, the risk of exposure to the virus for their people. Where the risk cannot be managed, we encourage these people to work from home wherever possible, reduce workplace risk in other instances, and if required take special leave.

Who is at increased risk?

In July, the Australian Government revised its advice on people at risk of severe illness from Coronavirus infection, dividing the increased risk into two categories:

  • those who might be at high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus infection
  • those who might be at moderate risk of severe illness from Coronavirus infection

Your risk of serious illness from coronavirus increases if you are:

  • aged 70 years or over
  • aged 65 years or over and have a chronic medical condition
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person aged 50 years and over who has a chronic medical condition
  • immune suppressed

Chronic conditions that put you at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 infection are listed here.

Based on this advice, we continue to encourage that a sensitive, common sense approach should be adopted when assessing the risk for employees with pre-existing medical conditions who have significant for concerns their wellbeing.

What are the working arrangements for ‘at risk’ staff?

People who are at increased risk should talk to their manager about their circumstances. Many of our people can perform their role from home and should do so, particularly where they are at greater risk of serious illness from Coronavirus.

For our frontline people, wherever possible, managers should:

  • take steps to avoid having employees who are at higher risk work in customer-facing roles or where physical distancing is difficult or not possible.
  • make arrangements to allow staff to remain at work in a safe environment by managing the risk of exposure of their people to the virus. This may include making changes to the work environment or providing alterative duties.
  • focus on identifying meaningful work that can be done at home, even where those duties may not cover a full day or working week. Managers should explore all opportunities, such as:
    • work that has been ‘on the back burner’
    • any good ideas you haven’t had time to implement
    • training or development activities
    • other work available across different parts of the business that may align with the employee’s skill set.

Exploring these options helps to ensure our people remain engaged and connected to workplace.

To support people considered most at risk of severe illness from Coronavirus, paid special leave of up to 20 days is available where adjustments cannot be made to the workplace or where people can’t work from home. For employees aged 70 or above special leave is uncapped. In other circumstances special leave may be extended.

This applies to:

  • those considered at high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus infection - his includes people over 70
  • people aged 65 and over who have 1 of the conditions listed in the health advice as putting people at moderate risk of severe illness
  • people aged 60-65 who have 2 or more of the conditions listed in the health advice as putting people at moderate risk of severe illness.

The ‘at risk’ manager's guide has been developed to support leaders with having a structured conversation with their at risk people, on assessing and managing risk, guidance on what evidence may be needed and the importance of keeping people on leave engaged and connected. Leaders can also contact their People Partner if they need further support.

Checking in

In some cases, your team member may need to be on special leave for an extended period. It’s important to remember that this may affect their mental health and wellbeing. Managers are asked to continually explore options for meaningful work even where this is not a full day, and identify other ways to keep their people on leave connected to work. Leaders should take the time to check their people on leave regularly – perhaps with a phone call, email or using Microsoft Teams, please refer to these tips on supporting each other and staying connected.

During this uncertain time it is our priority to support our people. We know that the Coronavirus situation has the potential to create anxiety for employees with existing health conditions and concerns about their level of risk. Having discussions with your manager about your individual situation will enable us to support you in the best way possible.

We encourage our people who are at increased risk of severe illness from a Coronavirus infection to talk with their manager about their circumstances. We encourage managers to assess, and manage where possible, the risk of exposure to the virus for their people. Where the risk cannot be managed, we encourage these people to work from home wherever possible, reduce workplace risk in other instances, and if required take special leave.

Who is at increased risk?

In July, the Australian Government revised its advice on people at risk of severe illness from Coronavirus infection, dividing the increased risk into two categories:

  • those who might be at high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus infection
  • those who might be at moderate risk of severe illness from Coronavirus infection

Your risk of serious illness from coronavirus increases if you are:

  • aged 70 years or over
  • aged 65 years or over and have a chronic medical condition
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person aged 50 years and over who has a chronic medical condition
  • immune suppressed

Chronic conditions that put you at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 infection are listed here.

Based on this advice, we continue to encourage that a sensitive, common sense approach should be adopted when assessing the risk for employees with pre-existing medical conditions who have significant for concerns their wellbeing.

What are the working arrangements for ‘at risk’ staff?

People who are at increased risk should talk to their manager about their circumstances. Many of our people can perform their role from home and should do so, particularly where they are at greater risk of serious illness from Coronavirus.

For our frontline people, wherever possible, managers should:

  • take steps to avoid having employees who are at higher risk work in customer-facing roles or where physical distancing is difficult or not possible.
  • make arrangements to allow staff to remain at work in a safe environment by managing the risk of exposure of their people to the virus. This may include making changes to the work environment or providing alterative duties.
  • focus on identifying meaningful work that can be done at home, even where those duties may not cover a full day or working week. Managers should explore all opportunities, such as:
    • work that has been ‘on the back burner’
    • any good ideas you haven’t had time to implement
    • training or development activities
    • other work available across different parts of the business that may align with the employee’s skill set.

Exploring these options helps to ensure our people remain engaged and connected to workplace.

To support people considered most at risk of severe illness from Coronavirus, paid special leave of up to 20 days is available where adjustments cannot be made to the workplace or where people can’t work from home. For employees aged 70 or above special leave is uncapped. In other circumstances special leave may be extended.

This applies to:

  • those considered at high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus infection - his includes people over 70
  • people aged 65 and over who have 1 of the conditions listed in the health advice as putting people at moderate risk of severe illness
  • people aged 60-65 who have 2 or more of the conditions listed in the health advice as putting people at moderate risk of severe illness.

The ‘at risk’ manager's guide has been developed to support leaders with having a structured conversation with their at risk people, on assessing and managing risk, guidance on what evidence may be needed and the importance of keeping people on leave engaged and connected. Leaders can also contact their People Partner if they need further support.

Checking in

In some cases, your team member may need to be on special leave for an extended period. It’s important to remember that this may affect their mental health and wellbeing. Managers are asked to continually explore options for meaningful work even where this is not a full day, and identify other ways to keep their people on leave connected to work. Leaders should take the time to check their people on leave regularly – perhaps with a phone call, email or using Microsoft Teams, please refer to these tips on supporting each other and staying connected.