Some employees may have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. An employee may have an increased risk if they:
- are 65 years or older
- have a medical condition
- have a compromised immune system
- are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person aged 50 years or older
Further information on people with increased risk of severe illness can be found on the Queensland Health website.
Supporting employees with increased risks
An employee who is at increased risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 should be supported and their needs assessed on a case-by-case basis.
If an employee is at increased risk due to COVID-19, or lives with or cares for a person at increased risk, the Supporting employees in vulnerable groups form will help you assess risks in the management and prevention of injuries within the workplace, and identify appropriate support strategies.
Temporary adjustments might include:
- remote working, including working from home, within the employee's current role
- allocation of work that can be undertaken remotely, that may not necessarily relate to an employee's role, but is in line with their skill set, experience and existing level
- deployment to an alternate, non-customer contact role
- alternative hours, or patterns of work
- working from another location
- deployment to another role within the agency
- mobilisation to another role in an alternate public sector agency.
If applicable, ask the employee’s treating practitioner to review the Supporting employees in vulnerable groups form. They may request further mitigating strategies where appropriate.
If an employee at increased risk due to COVID-19 cannot continue working while protecting their health, safety and wellbeing, they may apply for special leave in accordance with the Special leave directive. They should not access their personal recreation or sick leave.
If a vulnerable employee takes special leave, make them aware:
- they need to remain available; you may need them to undertake flexible work if you find appropriate work for them
- you’ll review the arrangement at least fortnightly to ensure it continues to fit the employee's circumstances and supports their ongoing health and safety
- they need to inform you if circumstances change. For example, if the employee becomes sick or is required to provide care for an unwell family member, the employee should be placed on either sick or special pandemic leave.