Department of Human Services

Workforce

Considerations

Items in orange you should “do now”, items in yellow, “do next” and items in green should be done as needed and applicable

Employees

Do now

  • Review and understand the Australian Government’s information for employers.
  • Review, understand and implement the Australian Government’s advice on social distancing.
  • Understand what to do if an employee:
    • Contracts COVID-19;
    • Needs to self-isolate; or
    • Is at risk of contracting COVID-19 due to direct contact with someone infected and the implications of this on clients and families.
  • Please refer to SA Health for the latest up-to-date guidance and advice.
  • Refer to the Australian Government’s advice on isolation.
  • Consider leave arrangements and identify critical roles. Implement back up personnel to fill critical roles in the event key staff are sick / caring / socially isolated, especially with continued restrictions or impacts on the employment of family members.
  • Consider provisions for staff at increased risk of serious illness (e.g. pregnant women, people who are immunocompromised) during a Coronavirus (COVID-19) response e.g. leave arrangements, alternative duties/work location.
  • Conduct regular check ins with your staff to support their wellness and identify any concerns, including by telephone and / or video for those working remotely.
  • Consider designating a specific staff member to manage rosters, availability and potential risks to staff health and wellbeing.
  • Understand that the uncertainty and anxiety caused by the epidemic may trigger mental health issues and direct staff to your Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) where possible.
  • Facilitate improved hygiene measures and social distancing modifications across all work
  • Understand all travel restrictions and communicate these clearly to all employees.
  • Monitor changing laws and regulations (e.g. travel restrictions) affecting your employees. Please refer to the latest advice from the Australian Government.
  • Review and understand the feasibility and available capability and capacity to implement alternative working measures such as working from home or splitting teams across sites.
  • The South Australian Government’s policy on employment conditions under COVID-19 (PDF 467 KB) may provide a useful reference.

Do next

  • Review existing policies and procedures to facilitate safe, secure and flexible work practices across the organisation and, if required, vary them in response to the potential requirements of remote working or other impacts or your pandemic plan.

Do as needed

  • Update, implement and monitor adherence to new policies and procedures (such as the new Home Visiting Policy) if applicable.
  • Keep employees regularly informed on about the latest updates and guidance whilst encouraging calm and a recognition that operations are likely to continue as long as government guidance is followed.
  • Encourage staff to develop their own family Coronavirus (COVID-19) response plan for care of dependent children and elders in the event of illness or community containment measures (e.g. school closures). Discuss with managers to determine work load impacts and leave options that could be accessed
  • Develop a plan for administration of Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to staff, should one become available, in accordance with state/national guidance (e.g. high priority staff, locations, communication).

Volunteers

Do now

In addition to the measures listed for Employees above:

  • Determine which (if any) services depend on volunteers to continue being delivered and decide whether they should continue.
  • Ensure all high-risk (e.g. elderly) volunteers are protected.
  • Ensure all high-risk (e.g. elderly) volunteers are protected.

Do next

  • Ensure that all volunteers receive appropriate and regular communication and ongoing training (if required).

Do as needed

N/A

Training and support

Do now

  • Designate a person to coordinate and maintain records of Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related education and training activities.
  • Provide education and training to all staff on Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related topics such as:
    • Signs and symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) illnesses
    • Hand hygiene
    • Standard precautions, transmission-based precautions (contact, droplet, airborne)
    • Appropriate use of PPE
    • Biohazard waste management
    • Decontamination and cleaning of clinical areas and equipment
    • Quarantine and isolation protocols
    • Notifiable disease reporting

Do next

  • Ensure that all staff are aware of the health service’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) response plan, and perform testing of the plan e.g. through a staff training day using Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related scenarios.
  • Review existing arrangements between supervisors and staff to monitor concerns, expectations and continue relationships. This may also extend to team meetings and revising agenda items.
  • Identify opportunities to provide mental health support to staff and clients.

Do as needed

N/A

Client / customer health and welfare measures

Do now

  • Implement measures to protect customers from exposure and / or infection in accordance with government guidelines. Please refer to the latest Australian Government guidance.
  • Further to the above, identify:
    • The process for identifying the risk of exposure to a client;
    • The process for seeking medical advice / consultation if a client is suspected to have COVID-19; and
    • The process for ‘contract tracing’ and communicating with family regarding a client who may have COVID-10.
  • Consider whether the organisation can collaborate and interact with a client of another organisation without breaching privacy laws. Consider whether information can be shared for the sake of contact tracing.
  • Recognise that increased levels of anxiety and uncertainty are anticipated amongst the community and the need for clear communication to vulnerable members of the community.

Do next

  • Determine whether face-to-face services will continue and, if so, in what capacity.
  • Consider the need for increased services, for example, family based violence providers may consider it necessary to conduct additional check-ins to ensure the safety and welfare of their clients.
  • Understand the risks around having clients access the broader health system as opposed to self-isolation (particularly in the disability sector).

Do as needed

  • Ensure that all clients receive appropriate and regular communication.

Relevant policies and procedures: Workforce

Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth).

  • DHS Isolation and Working From Home Policy – The Working from Home template you can use for your organisation
Page last updated : 02 May 2020

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