The PSA writes in response to an email received 24 March 2020 from Mr Cameron Kerr, Executive Director and Chief Executive Director, Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos, directing staff at both Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos as follows:
“We are required to close to meet the new social distancing guidelines so, for the health and safety of our guests, staff and the broader community, and in support of efforts taking place across the country to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo will be temporarily closed from 5pm Wednesday 25 March 2020.”
In accordance with the Premier of New South Wales’ Circular for COVID-19 leave, the PSA would like to advise members of their entitlements as follows:
Workplace is closed?
Where the workplace is closed, flexible work arrangements should be considered either at home or from another office location. Where work is unable to be provided to employees, they are to be paid as normal and are placed on paid special leave.
Unable to work?
Up to 20 days paid special leave will be provided, before other leave entitlements need to be accessed, to employees who are unable to work because they are:
- caring for sick family members;
- caring for family members due to closure of schools and caring facilities
- unable to attend work due to transport disruptions.
After the 20 days of special leave has been used, employees may access accrued leave entitlements (i.e. sick leave, annual leave, family and community services and extended/long service leave).
The PSA is concerned this announcement will effectively place a number of casual staff roles in jeopardy, and on that basis, the PSA urges management at Taronga Zoo to pay casual staff under the provisions of the COVID-19 leave entitlements. This would be in some cases amount to many years of dedicated service. Other public services that have been forced to close to the public, such as the Powerhouse Museum, have committed to pay their casuals rostered on as normal for the next week while they seek further advice from the Government. Others still such as the State Library have reaffirmed their commitment to their workforce by stating that all casuals will be continued to be employed and engaged with work throughout the COVID – 19 situation. The PSA is calling on Taronga Zoo to show the same commitment to their workforce, and continue the employment of casuals despite the closure.
If you if you require any assistance, please contact your PSA delegate or, alternatively, contact the PSA Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679. Not a member? Join the union that stands up for you at www.psa.asn.au/join.