Public sector workers in South Australia will be able to attend COVID-19 vaccination appointments during paid work hours under a new provision by the state government.

Under the new provision published by the commissioner for public sector employment, public sector workers can attend scheduled COVID-19 vaccination appointments during their normal work hours, including travel time.

They will also have access to their paid sick leave entitlements if they experience an adverse reaction.

The provision also includes that employees who have used up all of their sick leave can potentially access special leave with pay.

Treasurer Rob Lucas said ensuring the timely delivery of the vaccines was a priority.

“The government is doing all we can to support those public sector workers who choose to have the COVID-19 vaccination when their turn comes,” he said.

“These new provisions will ensure they are not out of pocket while doing so.”

About 14,000 people have stayed in Adelaide’s medi-hotels since March last year.(ABC News: Michael Clements)

SA waiting on $6 million in medi-hotel bills

Meanwhile, the state government has issued about $10 million worth of medi-hotel bills since the pandemic began.

The state’s COVID-19 response select committee held a public hearing on Thursday.

Lynne Cowan, deputy chief executive of SA Health, told the hearing 14,000 people have stayed in South Australia’s medi-hotels since March last year.

“These include around 12,200 people arriving to Australia from overseas, 1,500 people arriving from interstate during periods where there have been interstate outbreaks and 400 local people who have been close contacts,” she said.

Ms Cowan said $3.6 million of the invoices issued had been paid.

“That doesn’t mean all of those are overdue, some of them are actually recent bills,” she said.

“There will be people who have had payment options as part of that process.”

She said payment exemptions had also been granted in some circumstances.

Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Emily Kirkpatrick told the hearing that close contacts were not charged when they were required to stay in medi-hotels.

“There is no specific financial arrangement that we have within the medi-hotel operational structure for individuals who are placed as close contacts,” she said.