ASU members take Covid Care Allowance to Fair Work Commission

We need a COVID-19 Care allowance for support workers in recognition of the higher risks and standards of care that must be taken when supporting someone with COVID-19.

Today, July 1, The Fair Work Commission is hearing our case for a Covid Care Allowance after we initially raised it back in April.

We are asking for an additional allowance of about $5 an hour for any frontline worker supporting a person with, or suspected of having COVID19.

Disability workers provide essential support to some of the most vulnerable in our community. Their work must be respected and valued. We are calling on the Federal Government to fund their fair share during this unprecedented and difficult time.

The peak industry group, National Disability Services, represents 1100 non-government organisations and has also supported our claim for a Care Allowance. 

ASU national secretary Robert Potter said, "A COVID-19 care allowance would simply recognise and value these essential workers for their continued commitment during this pandemic. It would go a long way to providing recognition and certainty to the workforce and NDIS participants that services can continue to be delivered safely during this pandemic."

NDIS workers are on the front line of our nation's COVID response. NDIS workers can't work from home, and many provide direct care at clients' homes or through services in the community. NDIS workers face an increased risk of being required to self-isolate as a result of attending vulnerable clients and the allowance would help compensate them for that.

Robert Potter said, "Many NDIS workers are feeling incredibly anxious about the risk of COVID-19 to themselves, their families, their colleagues, and importantly the people that they support."

Further, the workers were likely to be low-paid workers eligible for JobKeeper payments, which the union said "reduce the economic incentive to undertake such work".

The Government funds the NDIS, and it must come to the party and support this amendment to our Award. 

The Fair Work Commission will hear the case on Monday.

Read more in this AFR article (paywalled)