Workers told to focus on their rights

WORKING ADVICE: Lawyer Andrew Wright says workers can often feel pressured during a lockdown.
WORKING ADVICE: Lawyer Andrew Wright says workers can often feel pressured during a lockdown.

Industrial lawyer and Labor candidate for Stuart Andrew Wright has reminded workers to remember their rights while working during a lockdown.

It comes as South Australia emerges from a seven day lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19, with many working from home during this period.

Mr Wright said workers may feel pressured to follow instructions from their employer under stressful circumstances such as a lockdown.

"However, it is important to keep in mind your rights as a worker and more importantly, understand your entitlements," he said.

In a release the candidate for Stuart outlined a number of rights that workers have to fall back on during the lockdown period, including:

Annual Leave

"You cannot be forced to use your annual leave during an unpaid stand-down," Mr Wright said.

"You can be forced to use your annual leave if you have accrued an inordinate amount because most leave is supposed to be used the same year you accrue it.

"If you are sick or caring for someone whilst on unpaid stand-down, you can use your sick or carer's leave.

"Additionally, if you are on annual leave and you are sick or caring for someone, your annual leave should be re-credited, and changed to personal or carer's leave."

Compensation

"Injured workers stood down without pay should be entitled to receive compensation from your employer's insurer," Mr Wright said.

"For workers with a permanent impairment due to a work injury that have not received a lump sum in the past, outstanding compensation might be available; this is separate to income maintenance and medical costs."

Casual Workers

"Casual workers are some of the hardest hit during lockdown. I encourage you to request a conversion to permanent work with the Federal Government recently changing the criteria," he said.

"The general rule is if you have been employed on a casual basis for 12 months with your current employer you have a right to request, and potentially be made permanent."

Being Dismissed

"Being dismissed from your job amid a pandemic also creates tremendous pressure," he said.

"If you have been unfairly dismissed and your contract was terminated or adversely affected, there are 21 days to make an application.

"If you haven't been unfairly dismissed but your employer has advised your hours or duties are being permanently reduced or diminished, you may be eligible for a redundancy payment."

Andrew Wright will be running for the seat of Stuart in next years State Election in a tight contest with elected Liberal MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan and Geoff Brock.

This story Workers told to focus on their rights first appeared on Whyalla News.