The Government has said that restrictions will start to ease when 70% and 80% of the adult population are vaccinated. This plan is based on health advice from The Doherty Institute. The Doherty Institute says that as restrictions ease, we will need to continue to Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine (TTIQ) into the future to keep safe and COVID cases down.
For this plan to work, all workers need access to paid isolation leave.
If you are exposed to COVID and need to test, trace, isolate or quarantine, you should be paid for the full isolation period without losing any income or having to use your annual or sick leave. It should be available to workers, including casuals.
Over 40% of workers in the care sector are casual workers. That means no paid leave to isolate if you need to even though you’re more likely to be exposed to COVID. @nataliemlang on the right to paid leave to keep everyone safe https://t.co/J6cKGS3U6E— Michele O'Neil (@MicheleONeilAU) September 14, 2021
Important piece @nataliemlang on consequences of reopening for care workers' incomes & safety. "It's ...indefensible for disability wrkr forced into isolation to forgo income they were expecting for that period." @ASUnion call for isolation leave in NES. https://t.co/1iwZMeauqP— Alison Pennington (@ak_pennington) September 15, 2021
Workers who make the difference deserve nothing less.
Community and disability workers are among the most exposed workers to the risks of COVID. This is because for many services working from home is not possible. Physical distancing can be difficult when you are providing direct care and support.
According to the Doherty Institute’s modeling, being vaccinated will reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus by between 86 and 93%. Vaccinations will be a key part of keeping workplaces safe.
But on top of being vaccinated we also need to support workers to be able to Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine if they are exposed to COVID.
This will further reduce the risk of COVID spreading at work.
For TTIQ to work, all workers need paid isolation leave as a new industrial entitlement. Without paid isolation leave, services will struggle to function because workers should not have to go without pay when they are exposed to COVID at work.
You are the workers on the front line of the pandemic. You are the heroes of the pandemic. You are essential workers and Paid isolation leave is an essential entitlement.
Vaccination + TTIQ Leave = safer workplaces for everyone
|“As front-line workers we are at high risk and have to be constantly tested. I got tested the other day and it took six days to get the results back, it took so long because there were so many people getting tested in my region. I couldn’t work during this time and I missed out on $900 worth of pay - I have bills to pay and I have a young child to support. Having isolation leave will make a huge difference. COVID can put us out of work due to the time we need off to get tested and to isolate. We need paid isolation leave because we are essential workers and it will help us support the people we care for.” - Marcie Burt|
|“COVID places stress on our families because we have an increase risk of being a close or casual contact due to our work on the front-line. Not being paid for isolating is a huge determent the community, and will make many re-think their career path. There are staff who are contemplating leaving the industry due to the high demand of covid testing and isolating without pay. We need paid isolation leave to keep good workers in the sector.” - Michelle Doan|
What you need to do
Thousands of community workers are taking a stand together to make our workplaces safer. Join the Workers Make the Difference campaign by joining the ASU today.
2. Pass a resolution at a special online union meeting with your colleagues in support of the campaign
3. Ask your employer to support paid TTIQ (isolation) leave and help us campaign for the Government to fund this entitlement for all community workers, no matter how you are employed.