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Holidaying with COVID? Switch to sick leave

A man sits on a sofa looking upset while he wears a face mask and is covered by a blanket.
Hundreds of thousands of Aussies have found themselves isolating over the holiday period. (Source: Getty)

There are around 587,971 active cases of COVID-19 in Australia as at 10 January 2021 and it is also the time of year when many Aussies are taking annual leave.

But if you’re stuck at home cursing the loss of your annual leave days, fear not - according to the Fair Work Ombudsman you can switch to sick leave.

“If an employee is sick or injured while on annual leave, the employee can use their paid sick or carer's leave entitlement instead of using their annual leave,” the Fair Work Ombudsman said.

However, your employer can request that you provide notice and evidence of being sick.

Likewise, if you’re taking sick or carer’s leave, your employer cannot ask you to take annual leave instead.


This comes as many Aussies have found themselves missing out on family get-togethers and holidays because the Omicron variant has been rapidly spreading.

What if I’m not a full-time employee?

If you’re a casual or contract worker, things are a little different. Since you’re not entitled to annual or sick leave, you won’t be paid for taking time off.

However, you can claim the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment from Services Australia if you have tested positive to COVID-19 and need to be isolated.

If you’re eligible you will receive $750 for each seven-day period you’ve been told to self-isolate or quarantine, or are caring for someone who has COVID-19.

You will need to make a new claim for each seven-day period.

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