Laws regulating the legalities of attending work and spending time in public places have been around from before Covid, Buckett Law writes in their latest article.
The Health Act 1956 entails that it’s an offence to knowingly be in a public place when infectious and not taking proper precautions against spreading the infection with a fine of up to $5000. Although many workplaces are considered public places, not all of them fall under this category.
If you are in a customer-facing role, such as working at the supermarket, as a receptionist or a dentist, then it is deemed unlawful to be at work while infectious with the flu, diarrhoea or chickenpox. The precautions you can take depend on the specific circumstance you are in and your illness. Your employer is not allowed to order an infectious employee to come to work knowingly.
In times of Covid, these rules have grown even further with the section 80 notice. If you attend work when you are sick, you put others and yourself at risk breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
Buckett Law strongly advises employees to attend work when infectious and recommends that workplaces implement a sick leave policy, allowing workers to stay away from the office when needed. If you have more questions about health and safety laws and regulations and how they have changed in times of Covid, get in touch with the Buckett Law team!