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Practical advice and assistance for businesses 

Responding to 
COVID-19

ABN: 96 929 977 985 ACN: 099 891 611 
Copyright © 2020 Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia

You may need to reconsider your existing workforce structure. Always seek legal advice before restructuring.

We can help Members identify appropriate policy and procedural responses within legislative frameworks.

We can assist with managing and restructuring your workforce during periods of uncertainty.

Get help planning for and managing risk and business continuity.

Support your business continuity with advice about alternative overseas suppliers and export markets.

View Membership packagesMore about Workplace Relations ConsultingFind out about OHS ConsultingVisit International Trade Consulting

Building resilience

CCIWA can help 

With the JobKeeper program concluding on March 28, the WA economy appears relatively well-placed in its economic recovery. However, every business is unique, and some are more exposed to border restrictions and national and global conditions than others. We're always working hard to ensure your concerns are heard where it matters. If you’re facing challenges, or want to provide feedback, don't hesitate to reach out to the team.

Employee Relations
Advice Centre

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Consulting

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ABN: 96 929 977 985 ARBN: 099 891 611 

Copyright © 2020 Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia

  • Get across your obligations as an employer, including enterprise agreements, contractual terms and the temporary flexibility available in some limited circumstances. 
  • Discuss options with your workforce. Employees may agree to reduced hours, or job sharing, in preference to job losses. 
  • If you have exhausted all other options, know what you must do to meet your obligations in case of redundancies.
  • Look ahead – how are you training and developing staff to meet your future business needs?
  •  Stay up-to-date on hiring and training incentives that may be available.
  • Staff are not entitled to be paid whilst self-isolating under Australian Government orders. 
  • Look at updating your leave policy. You may be able to reasonably refuse leave to travel-banned countries. 
  • If staff then go to a travel-banned country against employer approval, on top of the requirement to self-isolate, it may be possible to discipline the staff member.
  • Consider postponing or cancelling all business travel that isn’t critical to your operations.

Get on top of travel

Australian Citizens and Resident arriving in Australia must isolate themselves at home for 14 days. All foreigner travellers will not be permitted to enter Australia from 9pm (AEST), Friday 20 March 2020.

Disclaimer: The content found on this website does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained is free from error and/or omissions, no responsibility can be accepted by CCIWA, its employees or any other person involved in the preparation of information for any claim (including without limitation, any liability arising from fault, negligence or negligent misstatement) for any direct or indirect loss or damage arising from any use or reliance on this information, or otherwise in connection with it.

  • Review and revise your COVID-19 communication and incident response plan.
  • Be transparent and keep staff and other stakeholders up-to-date with your COVID-19 response. 
  • Make a mental health and wellness plan, take time to check-in, and help support more vulnerable staff members.

Leading through change

Business has a role to play in the community’s resilience — not just by helping keep staff safe at work, or by generating economic opportunity, but by showing leadership through difficult times.

  • Ensure your employees' workspace complies with occupational health and safety standards and check your insurance.
  • You may need to provide staff with equipment and services — like internet access, software virus protections, laptops and phones.
  • Know what expenses your employees may be able to claim and stipulate working hours and entitlements beforehand.

Trial a work from home day

It’s important to have a ‘work from home’ or offsite plan in place and tested before it’s needed.

CCIWA Members with questions can contact our
Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660.

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CCIWA Members with questions can contact the
Employee Relations Advice Centre on 9365 7660

Download our COVID-19 Key Issues Sheet - updated March 25, 2020

On Wednesday 18 March, the Australian Government raised the advice for all overseas travel to the highest level – Level 4 – Do Not TravelBookmark the DFAT and Smartraveller websites and stay up to date.

CCIWA Members with questions can contact the
Employee Relations Advice Centre on 9365 7660

Apprentice and trainee incentivesMental health for staffDownload Business Continuity Analysis Template
Stimulus Fact Sheet

Bookmark the business.gov.au website to stay up to date.

Call CCIWA Membership 1300 422 492

Bookmark the Health Department website to stay up to date.

Frequently asked questions

Updated August 26, 2021

Our Employee Relations Advice Centre offers advice and information targeted to our Members’ needs. The team has taken hundreds of calls on COVID-19 so far. Below you can find some general guidance to frequently asked questions.

Title

COVID-19 rules and regulations

Are aged care workers required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Following a National Cabinet decision in June, aged care workers must have at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 17, 2021.

On August 9 the WA Chief Health Officer approved directions to enforce this rule.

The Direction applies to any person working at a Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF), including administrative staff, ancillary staff, all visiting health care workers (including doctors, allied health and ambulance staff), students and volunteers.

RACF workers are required to provide evidence that they have been vaccinated to their employer, who must keep a record of this. This record must be available for inspection on request by an emergency officer, appointed under the Public Health Act 2016.

An exemption is provided for those persons who need to enter a RACF for the purposes of law enforcement, pursuing a statutory duty arising under a Commonwealth law, performing a function under a Fair Work entry permit or responding to an emergency in a capacity other than as an ambulance officer.

Family members and friends of residents and ad hoc volunteers or service providers are not required to be vaccinated, although vaccination for any person eligible is strongly recommended.

In addition, as of July 27, in-home aged care providers must report weekly on the COVID-19 vaccination status of their workforce, including contractors and volunteers.

or guidance on aged care workers refusing to get vaccinated, call CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on 9365 7660 or email advice@cciwa.com

Where can I get vaccinated?

Those eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination can book an appointment from Perth metropolitan COVID-19 vaccination community clinics and a number of regional public hospital-based vaccination clinics.

You can make an appointment via the following:

COVID-19 vaccination appointments can also be made with participating General Practices, GP respiratory clinics and Aboriginal Medical Services. These appointments can be made via the vaccine eligibility checker (external site) or contacting them directly.

What rules and regulations are currently in place in WA?

The Perth and Peel transitional restrictions ended at 12:01am Monday, July 12.

There are no longer any capacity restrictions for venues and events. This means private gatherings, concerts, sporting games, and weddings can go ahead at full capacity.

Measures remain in place to keep these events safe:

Some restrictions remain for visiting residential aged care, as well as on travel to remote Aboriginal communities. Controlled border arrangements are also in place.

For more information see here.

Do we need a COVID Safety Plan to reopen?

What is a Safety Plan?

A safety plan is a plan that addresses how the business ensures that:

  • physical distancing guidelines will be implemented;
  • required hygiene standards will be maintained;
  • staff will be appropriately trained or educated; and
  • an exposure or suspected exposure of a person to COVID-19 will be managed appropriately.

What is a safety plan certificate?

A safety plan certificate is a certificate that states:

  • the number of patrons who can be accommodated at the place; and
  • records the agreement of the owner, occupier or person apparently in charge of the place where the safety plan ce1iificate is displayed to maintain the WA Government's safety measures.

Note: Information about preparing safety plans, as well as safety plan certificates, are provided at the following website.

Are we required to continue using contact registers?

A number of businesses are required to maintain a contact register.

This includes takeaway services, retailers and private or commercial buses or vessels that carry 20 or more passengers, and where different groups of people interact at any time.

The list of businesses required to maintain a contact register includes:

  • food and licensed venues (restaurants, takeaway services, food courts, ccafés, bars, pubs, taverns, nightclubs)
  • retailers (supermarkets, department stores, pharmacies, hardware and general retailers) and the retail components of other businesses (bank branches, post offices, manufacturing showrooms)
  • gyms, indoor sporting centres, wellness centres, health clubs and fitness centres
  • indoor play centres
  • saunas and bathhouses
  • swimming pool, both indoors and outdoors
  • places of worship, and funeral parlours
  • beauty and personal care services (hairdressers, barbers, nail salons, tattoo parlours, spa and massage parlours)
  • galleries and museums
  • cinemas, theatres and other entertainment venues (casino, gaming or gambling venues)
  • motor vehicles or boats which are capable of carrying 12 or more passengers and is used on a commercial basis for a party, tour or function
  • auction houses and real estate inspections
  • community facilities, libraries and halls
  • zoos and amusement parks
  • function centres
  • hotels, motels, campgrounds or other accommodation facilities that ordinarily have check-in arrangements
  • boarding schools or residential colleges (not including residents)
  • adult entertainment premises (strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues)
  • venues where events are held and certain outdoor functions and gatherings under 500 people (e.g. weddings, corporate functions, carnival, fetes, festivals, markets, funerals/memorial services).
  • public and private hospitals (visitors only - persons visiting patients or attending meetings/lectures, couriers, and contractors)

It is also mandatory for individuals to check-in at businesses required to keep a contact register. Individuals could face penalties if they fail to check-in.

For more information visit the WA Government’s contact register page.

Does our employee get personal leave if they go for a COVID-19 test and are still waiting for their result?

Not necessarily. If the employee is unwell and/ or awaiting test results, they must not attend work. How, or if, they are paid for this period will depend on a range of factors including:

  • whether the employee is well or ill;
  • if they able to work remotely;
  • if they covered by paid pandemic leave.

Employee is ill

Personal leave can be taken by an employee if they are ill or injured and have met notice and evidence requirements. If your employee is not able to work because they are sick and they have met notice and evidence requirements, they may be able to access their accrued paid personal leave during such periods.

Some industrial instruments (modern awards, enterprise agreements) provide for paid pandemic leave which may cover payment for staff in these instances. Staff generally cannot access paid pandemic leave if they can use paid personal leave.

Employee is well

If the employee is well but can’t attend work because they are awaiting their test results, if they can work remotely, then they should do so and be paid their usual wages.

If they are well but can’t work remotely, then they may opt to take authorised unpaid leave or annual leave or, where they are covered by an industrial instrument that provides for unpaid or paid pandemic leave, they may be able to access this leave type.

Employees may also be entitled to the WA Government’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

For more information, contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or email advice@cciwa.com to discuss their options.

What incoming and outgoing travel restrictions are in place in WA? As at August 26, 2021.

Please refer to our information on the ‘state risk categories’ in the section below. The most up to date information can also always be obtained from the WA Government here.

State Risk Categories. Information sourced from the WA Government, on August 26, 2021.

Are hotel quarantine workers required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The WA Government has prevented quarantine workers from entering or remaining at a quarantine facility if they haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. The directions came into effect on May 10, 2021.

Some exemptions apply including:

  • Working in part of the premises not being used as a quarantine centre;
  • Law enforcement;
  • Responding to an emergency, other than COVID-19;
  • Performing maintained or repairs buy someone who is not a quarantine centre; and worker, where that person is not eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time

Quarantine centre workers must provide evidence that they have been vaccinated before entering or remaining at a quarantine facility.

For guidance on quarantine centre workers refusing to get vaccinated, call CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on 9365 7660 or email advice@cciwa.com

Are aged care workers required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Following a National Cabinet decision in June, aged care workers must have at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 17, 2021

As of July 27, in-home aged care providers must report weekly on the COVID-19 vaccination status of their workforce, including contractors and volunteers.

The vaccine will be a condition of working in an aged care facility and enforced via state, territory and Commonwealth authorities and compliance measures.

The Australian Government will provide $11 million in grants to permit eligible workers to take time off, if required, to get the vaccine or deal with any side effects.

For guidance on aged care workers refusing to get vaccinated, call CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on 9365 7660 or email advice@cciwa.com

Can I make my staff get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory for quarantine workers and anyone working in the aged care industry.

However, the question of whether COVID-19 vaccinations should be a condition of employment has not yet been tested in a court or tribunal. There have been some recent cases pertaining to the influenza vaccine.

Below are some considerations where workplaces have dismissed a worker who refused to get a vaccine.

By law, workers must comply with a request from an employer if it is considered lawful and reasonable - for example, requiring your staff to have a valid driver’s license where they are required to drive for work. While you can encourage your workers to get the COVID-19 jab, it is unlikely that making it compulsory for all workers would be lawful and reasonable at this point. Reasons include:

  • Public health experts, including the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, have not yet recommended COVID-19 vaccines be mandatory in ANY industries.
  • Also, a vaccine might not be available for your workers yet.
  • Your workplace may be considered ‘low risk’, it may be in a location with no community transmission.
  • Also, some of your workers may have medical reasons why they cannot get the vaccine.

However, if you’re in an industry considered high risk, such as aged care workers, border and front line health care workers, you may be able to implement a vaccination policy. You’ll want to proceed with caution and bring in the experts.

For guidance, call CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on 9365 7660 or email advice@cciwa.com

CCIWA Members with questions or concerns can contact our Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660.

Next steps after JobKeeper

COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions mean business, more than ever, needs to be entrepreneurial, flexible and responsive.

  • Review, update, communicate and enact your industry and workplace-specific hygiene and isolation guidelines regularly. 
  • Get a grasp on your cash flow and financial situation.
  • Recognise and respond to consumer shifts – both reduced demand and new openings.
  • Develop new markets and supply opportunities, internationally and locally.
  • Explore your technological capability and build your contingency for digital acceleration.
  • Consider your current and future workforce requirements and understand your contractual obligations. 
Download our OHS Working From Home ChecklistCoronavirus Self-Screening Forms for Staff/External PartiesDownload our OHS Working From Home Packet

We need to ensure we protect our economy and our workforce. Businesses have an important role to play to reassure workforces and communities, to know that we will get through this together.

Roger Cook MLA
Minister for Health

Download our Updated Staff CommunicationDownload our Sample Staff Email

A message from WA’s Health Minister

Stimulus Fact Sheet

For up-to-date COVID-19 information see our  FAQs.    

Updated: August 26, 2021 - 11:50am AWST 

How to Work Well From Home - ManagersHow to Work Well From Home - StaffSupport for business ownersWorkforce options
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Our Employee Relations Advice Centre is experiencing a high volume of calls & email enquiries at this time. We appreciate your patience and will endeavour to address your query as soon as possible.

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Adapt your business

Efforts to secure your supply chain and digitally transform your business now can also help build its resilience into the future.

Visit ICN Portal

Managing apprentices & trainees

Employers of apprentices and trainees must consider both their training and employment contracts when looking to restructure.

  • Get across your contractual obligations. 
  • Investigate alternatives to cancelling— you may be able to suspend or vary the training contract.  
  • Look at accessing Federal Government stimulus for employers of apprentices/trainees. 
  • If you have to make your apprentice/trainee redundant, you must meet the requirements of the State Training Authority.
Download the Training Contract ObligationsDownload the Apprentice and Trainee Workforce Options GuideDownload the Apprentice and Trainee Workforce Options GuideDownload the Workforce Options GuideStimulus Fact SheetBusiness continuity analysisDownload Working from Home ProcedureAwards flexed for downturnCOVID-19 Safety PackageTravel letter for staffTravel letter for staffLightbox Button
CCIWA supporting our regional chamber members
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CCIWA supporting our regional chamber members

As the peak body representing businesses in WA for more than 125 years, we support and connect thousands of businesses with one vision in mind: for WA to be the best place to live and do business.

Our regional Members have access to a range of CCIWA member benefits and services. For assistance with your CCIWA Regional Membership, please contact our Membership Experience Team on 1300 422 492 or email regionalmembers@cciwa.com.

Click on our interactive map to explore our regional chambers, or learn more about how the different regions are faring through COVID-19 in our recent edition of Regional Pulse.

Your guide to operating through COVID-19 restrictions

During COVID-19 lockdowns and subsequent interim period restrictions, businesses are forced to rethink the way they operate.

Read More

How to check in on staff welfare during a crisis 

A sudden COVID-19 lockdown can come as a shock to the system for many workers, increasing the likelihood of mental health issues coming to the fore. 

Read More

Is your business prepared for a snap lockdown? 

During a snap lockdown, businesses are forced to answer the question – are you prepared to move to remote work overnight? 

Read More

Adapting operations 

Contact Register ToolkitJobKeeper 2.0 Second Extension Period - Information Sheet
  • Review, update, communicate and enact your industry and workplace-specific hygiene and isolation guidelines regularly. 
  • Get a grasp on your cash flow and financial situation.
  • Recognise and respond to consumer shifts – both reduced demand and new openings.
  • Develop new markets and supply opportunities, internationally and locally.
  • Explore your technological capability and build your contingency for digital acceleration.
  • Consider your current and future workforce requirements and understand your contractual obligations. 

COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions mean business, more than ever, needs to be entrepreneurial, flexible and responsive.

COVID 19 Vaccination Guide