COVID-19 Questions - Private Individuals

Disclaimer: This content has been prepared by third party lawyers, not by ARAG nor by the Insurer. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not intended to constitute legal advice, and you should not rely on this information as a substitute for obtaining your own legal advice. If any of the below issues apply to you, then you should obtain legal advice about your specific circumstances. ARAG and the Insurer disclaim any liability for damages howsoever arising out of or in connection with the use and/or reference to any of this content.

Published on 01.07.2020.

My trip has been cancelled, who will reimburse the costs incurred? I only have the option to receive a voucher instead of the money paid. Is this correct?

This depends on your circumstances. The ACCC expects that you are entitled to receive either a refund, a voucher or credit note from the various businesses you used to book your trip.

I received a voucher from my tour operator because my trip has been cancelled. Should I be satisfied with this?

You may be entitled to other remedies. If your booking states that you are entitled to a refund under its terms and conditions, you are entitled to one. Businesses cannot change the terms of past purchases, even during this global health crisis.

Can my employer oblige me to take leave / vacation (hours) because there is less work due to COVID-19?

Your employer can ask you to accept paid or unpaid leave. However, you are not compelled to take it. If an agreement cannot be reached where you work from home, your employer may be required to pay you to remain away from the workplace.

Is the employer obligated to continue to pay the wages of the employees if the company is temporarily closed?

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), your employer may ‘stand down’ employees if the company’s work has been forced to stop. This may mean that you are stood down indefinitely, particularly if there is an enforceable directive for the business to close.

Stand down provisions may be exercised if there has been a stoppage of work, you cannot be usefully employed, or the stoppage is out of the employer’s control.

Stand downs are generally unpaid. However, your employer may permit you to take your annual leave during this time.

Is my employer obligated to keep my workplace COVID-19 free?

Your employer is required to abide by government directives for their type of business. This may include ensuring that prohibited activities do not take place and that venue restrictions are adhered to. If your employer’s business is not directly restricted, they must make sure that social distancing measures are in place.

Can my employer simply adjust my working hours?

They can ask you to reduce your hours for a certain period or to move to part-time working hours during this difficult time. They must ensure that any adjustment to your working hours is confirmed in writing. To make any permanent changes, your employer would need to follow the correct workplace and redundancy procedures.

I have been infected with COVID-19. Do I have to inform my boss?

Yes. You should inform your employer immediately per the government directive to do so and follow isolation guidelines. Until you obtain medical clearance, you must stay away. You can access your sick leave during this period.

My colleague is infected with COVID-19. I would rather not go to work now. Can my boss force me to come?

Your employer should contact their state or territory WH&S service for specific advice. They will then either ask you to continue coming in or stay at home. They must, however, ensure that the infected employee does not return to work while they are unwell.

Your employer should speak with you to explore alternate working arrangements where possible. The circumstances at the moment are highly unusual, and a request to remain away from work during this situation may be reasonable.

Is it possible to (temporarily) reduce the costs of your rental home during COVID-19 crisis?

You can negotiate with your landlord about paying reduced rent for a certain amount of time, and you must provide a written request. However, this is contingent on whether you have been financially impacted by COVID-19 under the new eviction moratoriums introduced by most states. In NSW, the Government has advised that this involves one or more rent-paying member of the household losing their lob or having reduced working hours. It also involves the weekly household income being reduced by at least 25%.

My child’s school has brought forward its school holidays. I need to care for my child. How can this be arranged with my work commitments?

You should discuss with your employer whether you are able to work from home. If you don’t think this is possible while you are required to actively care for your child, you may be able to claim paid carer’s leave. The current situation is highly volatile, and your employer should strive to be flexible.

The insurer of ARAG Legal Expense Insurance products is HDI Global Specialty SE – Australia (ABN 58 129 395 544, AFS License number 458776) (Insurer). ARAG Services Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 14 627 823 198, AFS Licence number 513547) (ARAG) has been granted delegated authority by the Insurer to enter into, vary or cancel policies and handle claims for ARAG Legal Expense Insurance products on the Insurer’s behalf.
All enquiries should be addressed to ARAG.

Any advice contained on this website is general advice only and has been prepared without considering your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Before purchasing or renewing a product we recommend that you consider if it is suitable for your circumstances and read the policy terms and conditions.

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