Coronavirus - What to do and what not to do

11 MAR 2020


Due to the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it has left many employers concerned about how to ensure the health and safety of their staff.

Below are some simple guidelines you can follow.


The Centre for Disease Control and the Department in control of the Work Health and Safetylegislation have issued the following general guidelines for employees:

  1. It is recommended that you wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds using soap and water or sanitiser.
  2. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or cough or sneeze into your elbow. Dispose of the tissue immediately.
  4. Avoid contact with exposed individuals.
  5. Avoid travel to areas with a high risk of exposure to the coronavirus (in this regard, check the Department of Foreign Affairs for updates).
  6. If you are sick, then:
  • stay at home to self-isolate;
  • monitor for fever, cough and shortness of breath; and
  • seek medical attention immediately.


Employers have obligations pursuant to the Work Health and Safetylegislation to ensure the health and safety of its staff.

Simultaneously, staff have obligations to ensure their own health and safety and the reasonable health and safety of others.

If your employee suspects they may have coronavirus, they should be directed to notify their supervisor at the earliest possible opportunity.

It is important to categorise employees as follows:

a)      No coronavirus risk – meaning the employee can work as usual.

b)      Coronavirus risk and the employee cannot work – meaning the employee should be placed on sick leave to attend to their health.

c)      Coronavirus risk but the employee is fit to perform employment duties – the employee will need to self-isolate to avoid spreading the coronavirus. If possible and practicable, allow them to work remotely from home.

If your employee has recently returned from overseas, specifically from a high risk country, you should direct them to seek the advice of a medical professional before they return to work.


If you have a question relating to your workforce and the coronavirus, or are looking for tailored advice for your business, please contact Aaran Johnson or Simon Kumar (contact details below) to discuss.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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