Australia introduces pandemic leave payment
As the Australian state of Victoria enters into a “state of emergency” due to a surge in community transmissions of COVID-19, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a pandemic leave payment for workers.
Workers in Victoria who have run out of sick leave but need to serve a 14-day quarantine period will each receive A$1,500 (US$1,067) for a two-week pandemic leave period. If required, workers will be able to apply for the payout multiple times.
The announcement comes as a reversal of course for the Australian government, who earlier this month pointed to the availability of programmes such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker as sufficient to support workers during the pandemic.
From Wednesday night, August 5, Australia’s second-largest city Melbourne, and the coastal capital of Victoria, will close retail, as well as some manufacturing and administrative businesses as part of a six-week lockdown.
With a daily curfew from 8pm to 5am barring nearly five million people from leaving their homes except for work or to receive or give care, 250,000 jobs are expected to be impacted as retail outlets and in-dining close.
And while the current payment scheme is only restricted to Victoria, it could be extended to other states and territories if the situation worsens, local media have reported.