Statement on aquatic staff affected by lockdowns

2 August 2021

With many Australians currently, or recently, affected by COVID lockdowns, employees in the Australian aquatic industry have again been affected by the closure of aquatic facilities and an inability to maintain the qualifications they need to get back to work once the lockdown is over.

With this in mind the Royal Life Saving Society – Australia (RLSSA) and the National Aquatic Industry Committee (NAIC) have released a position statement regarding the ongoing reaccreditation and licensing requirements for key aquatic industry positions, recognising the wide-ranging affects these lockdowns and mandated closures of public pools and learn-to-swim facilities have had on the industry.

The statement provides owners and operators of aquatic facilities with certainty around the rostering of aquatic industry staff, whose reaccreditation and/or licence renewal for key qualifications are affected by lockdowns now and into the future. Essentially the statement provides flexibility in allowing additional time for reaccreditation to be completed.

For Pool Lifeguards any reaccreditation and/or license that is due for renewal during a lockdown of up to 4-weeks will be extended by 4 weeks from the date the facility can re-open, and 8 weeks when the lockdown last for longer than 4 weeks.

For Swim Teachers any licence due for renewal during a lockdown of at least 7 days will be extended by 4-weeks from the date facilities can, under applicable health restrictions, recommence swimming and water safety programming. Working With Children checks are still required to be kept up to date in line with relevant legislation.

RJ Houston, National Manager of Aquatics for RLSSA and Chair of the NAIC, has welcomed the statement. “This nationally agreed guidance gives the aquatic industry sector confidence in managing the risks associated with disruptions to the availability of reaccreditation and license renewal processes for key service staff,” Mr Houston said. “With several Registered Training Organisations all providing services to staff across the industry, the Committee felt it was prudent to develop a consistent approach as soon as possible to create certainty for affected aquatic facility staff and management.”

Frontline employees have been the most financially vulnerable to lockdowns over the past 18 months, and the committee is particularly concerned for those workers, the majority of whom are classed as casual. The intent of this position statement is to ensure aquatic industry workers can get reaccredited and/or licensed when facilities reopen.

You can download the full statement at the link below.

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