Vic COVID-19 update: Worksafe COVID reporting changes and additional furlough advice
What you need to know
- WorkSafe Victoria do not require COVID-19 positive worker notifications from 14 January 2022
- Disability furlough guidance confirmed as superseding previous contact guidance
- NDIA advice regarding pending audits and readiness for audits in current outbreak areas
Workforce reporting changes
WorkSafe Victoria announced that from Friday 14 January, employers will not be required to submit a notification of any new COVID-19 positive workers even if their attendance at work was prior to 14 January.
COVID-19 positive notifications will only be required if they had already been reported to their employer prior to 14 January. These changes apply to all employers including anyone self-employed.
All other notifications to WorkSafe Victorian are unchanged.
Clarifications and details are located at Report an incident: Criteria for notifiable incidents - WorkSafe
Disability furlough guidance
The Victorian Government Health Department has advised NDS, in answer to provider questions:
- New disability furlough guidance, released on Friday 14 January will take precedence over any previous furlough advice. This new advice supersedes the Contacts assessment and management guidance documents developed for industry and primary care settings
- A recently recovered worker, who is identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, does not need to quarantine again if the exposure was less than 30 days since the recovered worker’s symptom onset (or first positive test if asymptomatic). Within this 30-day period, recovered cases can continue to attend high-risk settings, do not need to be furloughed from work if re-exposed, and do not need to participate in surveillance testing as part of their employment if re-exposed.
The new furlough guidance is based on worker contact with a positive case, whether or not they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, as well as testing results. The assessment of contact type, and requirements for testing and isolation, are dependent on the amount of time spent with, and environmental space between, a worker and a COVID-19 positive case.
NDS is continuing to follow up with Victorian Government on the need for urgent consideration of worker PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), as well as contact assessment and furlough requirements given the supply and cost issues associated with rapid antigen testing.
Advice has also been sought regarding positive worker identification, PPE they were wearing, and contact assessment requirements for residents of disability accommodation to address back-to-back isolation.
These are unchanged from previous DFFH (Department of Families Fairness and Housing) guidance in fact sheets dated 23 December 2021.
NDIA planned audits scheduled soon
The NIDA has responded to NDS sector concerns regarding NDIS audits scheduled with organisations in early February while providers face managing the Omicron outbreaks as a priority focus.
Advice received is that compliance activity will continue. However, the wording in the correspondence has been updated to recognise some providers may need more time to respond to any audits and the team will work with providers to facilitate extensions if they need more time.
NDS suggests providers with pending NDIS audits in the coming weeks, who are impacted with current community outbreaks, should contact NDIS Commission to request an extension if needed.
Upcoming sector meetings
- Day Services Community of Practice
Wednesday, 19 January at 3pm to 4pm (AEDT)
- COVID-19 Prevention, Vaccines and Outbreak Management Community of Practice
Thursday, 20 January at 3pm to 4pm (AEDT)
This will include input from Bruce Greeves, Health Education Collaborative infection control consultant regarding how to keep your workers safe in the current COVID-19 environment through correct infection control and use of person protective equipment
- Living with COVID-19: Information sharing and collaboration series
Friday, 28 January at 12pm to 1.30pm (AEDT)
- NDS COVID-19 hub for information and resources including PPE
- For Providers - COVID-19 | NDIS website
- Australian Government Department of Health - Disability provider Alerts
- Australian Government Department of Health - Providing disability support services during COVID-19