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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 

As COVID emergency conditions and the JobKeeper program conclude March 28, the WA economy appears relatively well-placed. 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

Workplace Relations Consulting

OHS
Consulting

International Trade Consulting

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 April 12, 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

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

At the moment, probably not.

There is no Federal Government direction for COVID-19 vaccines to be compulsory, and State legislation is unclear. WA currently has a public health order for workers in residential aged care to be vaccinated against influenza, unless a worker has a medical condition that would cause them harm if they were vaccinated. However, there is no mention of vaccination against COVID-19 in the order.

The question of whether COVID-19 vaccinations should be a condition of employment has not yet been tested in a court or tribunal, meaning there is no case law to guide employers. In cases where workplaces have dismissed a worker who refused to get a vaccine, it comes down to whether the request was lawful and reasonable.

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 hotel quarantine 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

What if my employee refuses to come to work because a co-worker isn’t vaccinated?

The Australian Government has decided to roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine in phases, making it available to priority groups first. As the vaccine becomes more widely available, you may find some employees deciding not to get vaccinated.

Given there is currently no government direction dealing with COVID-19 vaccinations, it would likely be lawful and reasonable to direct the employee to attend work. However, employers should always discuss any concerns employees raise regarding the safety of the workplace.

Employers should also share information with their staff regarding steps taken to ensure a safe workplace, which may include:

  • Communicating any policies relating to the management of COVID-19
  • Requiring employees returning from travel and visitors to complete a screening form before entering the premise
  • Providing hand sanitizer and hygiene information
  • And information on cleaning procedures

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

What incoming and outgoing travel restrictions are in place in WA? As at April 12, 2021.

Latest travel advice:

From 12:01am Monday April 19, based on the latest health advice and pending no further outbreaks:

  • Travellers from Queensland will be considered a very low risk jurisdiction and are able to enter WA without having to quarantine.
  • Travellers from New Zealand will be considered a very low risk jurisdiction and are able to enter WA without having to quarantine.

Travel into WA:

Current Status:

The most up to date information can also always be obtained from the WA Government here: Link

Risk Categories. Information sourced from the WA Government, April 12, 2021.

Very low risk states and territories

(No community cases in 28 days — currently includes TAS, ACT, SA, NT, VIC & NSW)

  • Before travelling to WA, complete a mandatory G2G PASS registration and declaration.
  • On arrival at Perth Airport, complete a health screening.
  • Scan your G2G PASS to exit the airport.
  • Travellers from very low risk states and territories are not required to quarantine.

Travellers from a very low risk state or territory who have knowingly had contact with a person from a medium or low risk state or territory in the 14 days before travelling will be subject to the same quarantine conditions as that person and must self-quarantine for 14 days when returning to WA.

Low risk states and territories

(Less than 5 community cases per day on a 14-day rolling average — currently includes QLD)

  • Before travelling to WA, complete a mandatory G2G PASS registration and declaration.
  • You should wear a mask as directed.
  • On arrival at Perth Airport, complete a health screening.
  • Scan your G2G PASS and then verify you have suitable premises for self-quarantine.
  • If you have suitable premises, enter self-quarantine for 14 days. If not, you will be directed to enter a Government-approved quarantine facility at your own expense for 14 days.
  • You must present for a COVID-19 test on Day 11 if still in WA.

The G2G PASS app enables virtual check-ins during your quarantine once you have entered WA. Travellers from low risk states and territories are encouraged to download and use the app.

Medium risk states and territories

  • You are not permitted to enter without an exemption through G2G PASS.
  • If permitted entry, you must self-quarantine at a suitable premises for 14 days. If a suitable premises is not available, you will be directed to a Government approved quarantine facility at your own expense.
  • Approved travellers are subject to a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and on day 11 of quarantine, or at any point when symptoms develop. A mask must be worn while travelling to and from the COVID Clinic.
  • You must wear a mask from when you enter WA until you arrive at suitable self-quarantine premises or government approved quarantine facilities. In addition if travelling by air, you must also wear a mask on the flight while in WA airspace, and while inside the airport (with some exceptions – e.g. children under the age of 12 are not required to wear a mask).

The G2G PASS app enables virtual check-ins during your quarantine once you have entered WA. Travellers from low risk states and territories are encouraged to download and use the app.

Conditions for quarantine

As part of our safe and sensible controlled border arrangement, conditions of quarantine will apply to travellers coming into WA. These conditions apply to travellers arriving from a very low risk or low risk state or territory. Travellers from medium risk states and territories are not permitted to enter unless exempt.

When will the New Zealand travel bubble commence?

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday April 6, 2021, that Australians will be allowed to travel to New Zealand without having to quarantine from 7:59pm WST Sunday April 18, 2021.

Is WA part of the New Zealand travel bubble?

On Friday 9 April 2021, the WA Government announced it will allow quarantine-free travel between Western Australia and New Zealand from 12.01am Monday, 19 April. New Zealand will be classed in the same way as the other Australian states have been. From 12.01am Monday, 19 April New Zealand will be classed as very low risk.

Travellers entering WA from ‘very low risk’ jurisdictions must:

  • Before travelling to WA, complete a mandatory G2G PASS registration and declaration.
  • On arrival at Perth Airport, complete a health screening.
  • Scan their G2G PASS to exit the airport.
  • Travellers from very low risk states and territories are not required to quarantine.

Can we refuse leave requests from employees who want to travel to New Zealand?

Unless the WA Government or Federal Government impose restrictions, employers can only refuse annual leave requests if the refusal is reasonable. For example, if your business has a leave policy requiring 4 weeks’ notice and an employee only gives 1 weeks’ notice, it may be reasonable to refuse their request. Refusing a request to take annual leave to travel to New Zealand will likely be unreasonable unless there are other mitigating circumstances.

Can we require employees who travel to New Zealand to self-isolate before returning to work?

Unless the WA Government or Federal Government impose restrictions, employers can only direct employees to remain away from the workplace if their contract of employment permits such a direction. If an employee’s contract permits the employer to make such a direction, the employee should be paid their full rate of pay for the period they are required to remain away from the workplace. Employers may be able to direct employees to work from home if the direction is reasonable.

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

Adapting operations

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

Updated: April 12, 2021 - 10am 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.

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