Front line workers have continued to provide essential services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to some of our community's most vulnerable peoples. Union members have been campaigning for paid pandemic leave since March. We have already secured it for thousands of members at different organisations who have worked with their Union members to provide it. Now, finally, the NSW & Federal Governments have agreed to provide a paid pandemic leave scheme for workers in NSW - including casuals or contract workers!
Every time a front line worker enters their workplace, they risk the possibility of contracting COVID-19. We know from Victoria that workplace transmission has been one of the most prominent source of contraction. Essential workers should not have to choose between working a shift and putting food on their table for their families or isolating for public health. They deserve to be protected!
The Fair Work Commission agreed with unions that:
"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."
After months of lobbying, paid pandemic leave will be widely available for all workers who would otherwise not have income if they have been told by NSW Health to isolate or self-quarantine.
Who gets to access the scheme?
- To be eligible for the paid leave scheme you need to have been directed by NSW Health to quarantine or isolate as a result of exposure to COVID19.
- You also have to demonstrate you are unable to work or earn an income while isolating, and that you do not have any paid sick or carers leave.
- You may also be eligible if you need to take time off to care for someone else who has to isolate or quarantine.
- You are not eligible for the scheme if you are on Job Keeper, or if you get paid any income during the period of isolation.
If you are eligible, you will receive $1,500 for each 14 day period you've been told to isolate, self-quarantine or care for someone else. You can find out more about the scheme and how to apply here.
Together in union we can win, we can make a difference and we can provide safer workplaces for everyone.
If you have concerns about the safety in your workplace, or want to find out more about this Union win, contact our Member Assistance Hotline on (02) 9310 4000 or via [email protected].
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