Australia’s Victoria state trials sick leave for casual workers
Australia’s Victorian state will trial providing sick leave to casual workers, rolled out in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the programme, workers in high-risk industries will have access to up to five days of sick or carer’s leave at minimum wage rates. These include cleaners, supermarket workers, hospitality workers, security guards, and aged care workers.
Consultation for the trial programme will open this month, and the scheme is slated to start in early 2022.
This means workers will not have to choose between taking a sick day and being able to pay rent, said Ingrid Stitt, Minister for Workplace Safety, according to Guardian.
“It is unacceptable that any worker should have to choose between feeding their family and keeping their workmates and community safe,” she said, adding that “this scheme will remove that terrible choice for our most vulnerable workers.”
To date, the Victorian state government has already paid over A$141 million (US$104.7 million) to casual workers to stay home and self-isolate while awaiting COVID-19 test results, she said.
The payment of A$450 (US$334) was first announced in July 2020, and is an increase from the original amount of A$300 (US$223).