National COVID-19 Update: Disability workers confirmed as essential workers
What you need to know
- Household close contacts who are considered critical to service delivery can continue to work if they are asymptomatic and return negative RAT against set schedule
- Negative RAT are required on Day One, every second day until Day 6
- Staff must quarantine except for work until negative test on Day 6/7
- If required testing is unavailable, worker must not attend the workplace
Yesterday National Cabinet met to consider measures that would ensure that essential services were able to be maintained throughout the current Omicron outbreak. This included changes to furloughing arrangements for essential workers exposed to COVID-19 in household or household like settings.
The changes are intended to enable workers providing essential disability supports and considered critical to services, who are close contacts but asymptomatic, to continue working.
Each state and territory will implement these changes to close contact arrangements for essential workers under respective public health orders and equivalent arrangements, where these do not already exist.
Permissions and restrictions for essential workers guidance [PDF] has been published and details testing requirements along with a range of factors that employers need to consider where they are allowing workers exposed to COVID-19 to continue to work.
Where workers are considered high risk contacts the following requirements must be met to continue to work:
- Workers must be asymptomatic
- Continue to work if negative day 1 RAT
- RAT at every second day until Day 6
- Monitor for symptoms, test, and isolate immediately if symptoms develop
- Must quarantine outside of work until cleared or negative test day 6-7
- Continue to monitor for symptoms for a total 14 days from exposure
- Required testing must be available in order for the worker to attend the workplace
Given the extremely limited availability of RAT currently, NDS recognises that it will be difficult for many providers to implement this guidance. We are continuing our advocacy at all levels of Government for people with disabilities and their workers to have priority access to RAT. We are also working with our partners to establish timelines of supply.
- For Providers - COVID-19 - NDIS website
- Disability provider AlertsDisability provider Alerts - Australian Government Department of Health
- Providing disability support services during COVID-19Providing disability support services during COVID-19 - Australian Government Department of Health
- NDS COVID-19 hub - this has been updated to reflect partners who supply RAT