Since the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic the Australian Services Union has been calling for paid pandemic leave for all workers. The Fair Work Commission has awarded paid pandemic leave to aged care workers to stop staff going to work sick.
We welcome this decision - it is a good first step. Now, all workers must have access to paid pandemic leave.
The Paid Pandemic Leave will begin Wednesday July 29th and will apply to residential aged care employees covered by the aged care, nurses and health professionals awards.
Unions have been calling for this since the beginning of the pandemic.
On April 8 the Fair Work Commission introduced paid pandemic leave for some health care workers. Unions called for the leave to be extended.
After appeals by unions, the Fair Work Commission again said on July 8 that there was no need to introduce paid pandemic leave.
On July 27, the ruling changed to include aged care workers.
This comes after a spike in cases and an increase in deaths in our aged care sector.
The Federal Government must introduce paid pandemic leave for all workers before it's too late. Frontline disability workers and community workers must be provided with paid pandemic leave to help stop the spread. Before it's too late.
Working people need to know they don’t have to make the decision between going to work sick, or self-isolating and not being able to pay their bills.
The Fair Work Commission's ruling found that self-isolating was "in the public interest" but low-paid workers were likely to be placed in "significant financial difficulty and even distress".
The ruling stated, "There is a real risk that employees who do not have access to leave entitlements might not report COVID-19 symptoms which might require them to self-isolate, but rather seek to attend for work out of financial need."
Stopping the spread of coronavirus is vital, but Scott Morrison’s response so far has been dangerously inadequate.
The government must ensure that all workers have paid special leave - if you’re sick or if you’re forced to self-quarantine.
- ABC News: Fair Work Commission awards paid pandemic leave to aged care workers to stop staff going to work sick
- Sydney Morning Herald: Aged Care Workers Across Australia Will Be Given Paid Pandemic Leave
- Petition: https://www.megaphone.org.au/petitions/coronovirus-support-paid-sick-leave-for-casual-workers
- FWC Decision: https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/health-sector-pandemic-leave/decisions-statements/2020fwcfb3940.pdf