COVID-19 and Community Services: staying safe - Public Service Association

COVID-19 and Community Services: staying safe

The PSA has been in touch with many members over the last few weeks to check in on how they are going. We have heard many stories of community services members helping each other during extremely difficult circumstances.

Your safety

Your employer is responsible for the safety for all staff. If you have concerns for your health and safety, such as unsafe work practices, absence of PPE, please raise them with your supervisor, manager or team leader.

If the concerns are not addressed, please lodge an incident report through SAP immediately and contact the PSA if no prompt action is taken to address your concerns.

Member Support Centre 1300 772 679

As a general rule you should follow all social distancing and hygiene measures outlined by NSW Health. You can read up on these and other information HERE.

Working remotely

The NSW Government has told us to stay home, to work from home and only go out to perform tasks that you can’t do remotely.

Even though Community Services staff are considered essential, it does not mean that you can’t do a large portion of your work from home. Speak to your manager about this and if you have any problems please contact us.

If working from home, usual payment arrangements and conditions apply.

Working at the office

Managers and staff should take a flexible approach, only requiring attendance in the workplace if this is absolutely necessary and allowing for employees to return home at the conclusion of any required attendance.

Managers should ensure social distancing recommendations are adhered to in the workplace. A flexible approach to hours and duties can assist to minimise the need for large numbers of staff to attend work locations together.

Where possible, arrangements should be made for employees who have to attend DCJ offices to be given access to available car parking to minimise the need for employees to use public transport.


The provisions of the flexible working hours agreements (i.e. Field Flex Agreement) continue to apply while employees are working remotely. Employees should continue to record hours and breaks as they would if working from their normal location.

How does the Special Leave apply?

The PSA advises all community services members to discuss your personal circumstances with your Supervisor as soon as possible so that they can be taken into account.

If viable, you should continue to work for as long as possible.

We are not sure when the current situation will change or how long the pandemic will last. It is important members do not pre-emptively access their Special Leave.

Some further information on when you can access COVID-19 Special Leave is below:

  • Paid special leave of up to 20 days for people who need to be excluded from workplace/placed in quarantine
  • Paid special leave of up to 20 days for people with caring responsibilities* or who have transport disruptions (without needing to exhaust other forms of leave first)
  • For people who are sick – they apply for sick leave as usual, if they exhaust sick leave they can apply for special sick leave
  • Provision to work flexibly/remotely/at other locations where at all possible.
  • In the event that your workplace is shutdown there is no requirement to apply for any form of leave, you will continue to be paid.
  • Staff who are well, required to isolate and/or be at home to care for family members and able to work from home, and can balance caring responsibilities with their ability to undertake productive work, can do so.

If you have any questions about the application of Special Leave contact the PSA Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679.

Do you know someone who is not a member?

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