Changes secured to NSW Government’s COVID-19 legislative changes passed on 13 May 2020
In working with the NSW Opposition and Cross Benchers, the following changes were achieved to the Government’s COVID-19 Legislative Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill (No 2) 2020:
• Enabling workers’ stood down without pay during the pandemic to continue to accrue annual and long service leave;
• New provisions so workers who continue to work and contract COVID-19 are automatically covered for workers’ compensation rather than having a protracted argument to prove it was contracted at work;
• Legislation to allow deferral of union elections if the Electoral Commission is unable to conduct those elections due to the pandemic; and
• Allowing Council workers to be able to cash out excess leave by agreement.
Additional changes which occurred as part of the legislative process which may be of interest include:
• Legislation to provide financial support for residential tenants and their landlords with financial assistance during the pandemic; and
• Blocking measures to limit Council income and preventing Councils investing in their own assets; and
• Preventing measures to keep Council rates and land tax artificially high after the bushfires and pandemic.
Of particular note are the provisions surrounding workers' compensation, which will have a significant impact on both workers' rights should they have to make a claim, and also will hopefully ensure greater compliance from employers in ensuring they are ensuring a safe and hygienic workplace.