Information regarding COVID-19
“We recognise that these are uncertain times and we are reaching out to address some thoughts you may be having around how Partners and Support Workers engage during this period.”
Who is at risk?
Click here to see the government’s advice on who is most at risk.
There are two distinct groups of people we must be aware of: those who are most at risk of coming in contact with the virus and those who are most at risk of developing a serious infection.
The list of people at risk of coming in contact with the virus is likely to grow significantly. But as it currently stands, people most at risk of coming in contact with the virus are:
- People who have been overseas
- People who have been in contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19
- People in detention facilities
- People in group residential facilities
- People with compromised immune systems
- Elderly people
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (due to higher rates of chronic illness)
- People with chronic medical conditions
- People in group residential settings
- Very young children and babies*
*Though the link between young children and COVID-19 is not well understood.
CAN I CONTINUE TO EMPLOY MY SUPPORT WORKERS DURING THIS TIME?
In our circumstances, this is a Partner’s case by case decision depending on whether it is safe for your Support Worker to continue providing care (you can utilise the Australian Government information above as your guide).
Support Workers undertake a wide variety of duties in many different settings and knowledge of the virus and its impact is changing rapidly therefore only general information can be provided.
CSA encourages both Partners and their Support Workers to stay in close contact with each other, during this period and prior to every proposed shift, to assess whether it is safe to work, taking into consideration your particular circumstances and the latest official government advice.
As a general rule, Government guidance indicates that it will be safe to continue a shift where the Partner, the Support Worker and any others that may need to be present in the work environment are healthy and do not present with Coronavirus symptoms and where recommended safety precautions are adhered to.
The following links also provide the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and, like us, we urge you to follow them and visit them regularly as the situation continues to change and evolve:
All of this information is correct at the time of writing, but the nature of a public pandemic is that it is a fast-changing environment. We strongly recommend following those links for the most up to date information.
Getting in touch with us
Just like the rest of the world, we have had to make BIG changes very quickly in the way we work, and our capacity for handling phone enquiries, and processing documentation have been impacted by this crisis.
To ensure that we are still able to help Partners and Support Workers, we are currently working hard to remedy this over the weekend and in the coming days. In the meantime, also feel free to send your queries through via email and we will come back to you as soon as we can. We appreciate your patience at this time.
We understand the landscape is continually shifting as new information about COVID-19 continually comes to light, and we are most certainly all navigating the challenges of this pandemic together.
Stay safe, stay well.
Proof of essential work
We advise given the restrictions that are currently in place across all states should Support Workers be questioned by authorities as to where they are travelling to and from and for what purpose – that you produce a copy of your payslip.
Payslips are emailed to all Support Workers nominated email addresses, on a fortnightly basis. Should you need a copy of yours sent to you, do not hesitate to contact us.
Note the states have released the following information in terms of what is classified as “essential work” –
JOBKEEPER PAYMENTS UPDATE – 9TH APRIL 2020
On 8 April, the Federal Government passed laws in relation to the JobKeeper payments. In summary, the Job Keeper payment is a wage subsidy paid to eligible employers worth $1,500 per fortnight for each of their eligible workers. Please see the government fact sheets for more information – Australian Government – JobKeeper Payments
CSA has sought legal advice regarding the application of this payment to Partners and their Support Workers. We have also sought advice regarding whether CSA can play a role in applying for and distributing the payment on behalf of Partners and their Support Workers.
The advice CSA has received is that Partners will not meet the eligibility criteria for the payment.
As this is a rapidly evolving pandemic, if we receive advice in future that Partners become eligible for the payment, CSA will update Partners and endeavour to play a role in administering the payment for Support Workers.
IF I CANNOT ACCESS JOBKEEPER PAYMENTS, WHAT GOVERNMENT FUNDING CAN I POTENTIALLY ACCESS?
Support workers are likely to be eligible for the new JobSeeker payment however this will depend entirely on the individual circumstances of each worker. The JobSeeker Payment has the same basic qualification, pay ability and means testing rules as Newstart Allowance. For more information about JobSeeker, please go to – Australian Government – JobSeeker Payments
Alternatively, Support Workers may wish to review recently released information from the Federal Government around early access to Superannuation during COVID-19. For all the information in relation to this, including the criteria you must satisfy to be eligible visit – Australian Government – Superannuation COVID-19
CSA are NOT applying the – NDIS 10% COVID-19 loading
Our Partners recently received communication from us in relation to the short term 10% COVID-19 loading that the NDIS has implemented to financially support providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have further investigated this initiative; spoken to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and importantly have spoken with our Partners, about their concerns regarding how this will impact their supports.
From these invaluable conversations, we have determined the following:
- The NDIA will not be increasing your plan funding to balance the impact of the 10% loading
- This will lead to reduced rostered hours and a reduction of care for you to fund the loading
- The NDIA have advised us that a plan will only be extended when funds run out
OUR KEY CONCERN FOR OUR PARTNERS:
- They may not receive a favourable and considered review from the NDIA which may leave them with an unsatisfactory plan which could cause enormous stress and a lack of funding for the supports that they require
- We exist to support our Partners and to ensure that you all experience an uninterrupted continuation of service, minus any stress especially during these extraordinary times. As a consequence, we have decided to keep the needs and key concerns of our Partners at the forefront during this pandemic and NOT to proceed with this initiative
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR PARTNERS?
They can continue to roster their Support Workers as they require, as per usual without impact on the funding within their current plan. We look forward to continuing to support our Partners through these uncertain times, and beyond!
Should Partners wish to discuss this further with our Payroll team, please contact us at:
Telephone: 1300 729 839