In a time of great uncertainty, the community is starting to make hard decisions in order to limit as much as possible the spread of Covid-19 virus. The AMA committee has considered our options going forward as we have events planned that bring our members and the industry together over the coming months. We will keep members informed as this situation develops.
We have also observed decisive action taken by organisations such as the National Band Championships, Yamaha Music, the Grand Prix Corporation and others in cancelling meetings and events planned for now and in the coming months. Frankfurt Musikmesse and other major industry events around the globe have been cancelled or postponed.
No doubt many wholesalers have been planning events involving travel, and gathering people in close quarters. The chief medical officer has today recommended disallowing public gatherings of more than 500 people to the federal government.
Retailers are in the front line dealing with the public, and possibly extending their activities staging events and organising music lessons for hundreds of students.
Music products is a major employer in the music industry. The current situation is already impacting members on the human perspective, with Yamaha reporting a staff member going to isolation.
Managing your employees well is crucial in minimising the impact of the virus spreading.
For a comprehensive resource available for retailers from the ARA CLICK HERE
Reduce the Risk of Your Employees Contracting Coronavirus
There are several measures that employers can take in order to reduce the risk of their employees contracting coronavirus. These things include:
- Staying up to date with the latest updates as the situation continues to change. This information should be obtained from reputable sources like the Australian Government’s Department of Health or the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- Enforcing strict personal hygiene measures. This may include providing staff with the facilities required to do so, such as hospital-grade hand sanitiser and hand wash. Furthermore, staff should be advised to only cough into their elbows and regularly wipe down surfaces. Having hand sanitiser on retail counters in view of customers engenders confidence in the cleanliness of the store. Alcohol based wipes for instruments.
- Any staff who fit the above criteria for being at-risk to have contracted coronavirus, and anyone who is displaying symptoms – such as fever or breathing difficulty – should be advised to immediately seek medical attention or self-isolate until they have been cleared by a medical professional. If any employees are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, they must self-isolate for 14 days.
If You Suspect An Employee Has Contracted Coronavirus
If you suspect a staff member has coronavirus you should immediately advise them to call (not visit) their GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
If one of your employees contracts COVID-19, they may be entitled to:
- Paid leave
- Annual leave or long-service leave
In accordance with the Fair Work Act, if an employee is confirmed to have coronavirus, employers may have the right to stand them down. In general, stand down periods are unpaid but, if applicable, employees may take paid leave.
Employees who are in isolation should alert their employer. Depending on the type of work, and provided the employee is well, they may want to discuss alternative arrangements such as working from home.
Working from Home
Working remotely from home, may be a viable and even necessary option should employees be required to self-isolate. However it often requires negotiations between employers and employees regarding the resources employers will provide employees in order to provide them with suitable work conditions.
Once an agreement has been made, the conditions or work, responsibilities of the employer and responsibilities of the employee should all be documented in writing.
Working from Home Checklist
Following an agreement there are things to pay attention to regarding Work Health and Safety; the following link provides good information CLICK HERE
Though the full impact of the COVID-19 situation is yet unknown, as it continues to develop it becomes increasingly likely that having employees work from home while self-isolating may be a key element to enable business and association operations.
For further information:
- Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.
- Download the Department of Health’s Information for Employers Fact Sheet
- Visit http://www.health.gov.au/
- Review Safework Australia’s Advice for Persons Conducting a Business
We are in unchartered territory. We will stand ready to assist governments and others in distributing messages that concern small business and their employees. It is still early days they say and we will maintain a close eye on the official information sources.
May social distancing provide us with a renewed appreciation of being connected – we send our best wishes to all our members and know the music industry will pull together as always.
Note: This article is for general information and to draw attention to the issue and to resources that are available. For any specific matters seek expert/legal advice