The Cobram Courier
Pay relief for casual workers
Casual and contract workers in Victoria will no longer have to worry about working through a sick day with the new Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee under way.
The Andrews Labor Government has announced a $245.6 million scheme that will guarantee casual and contract workers sick leave or carers leave when they need it the most.
The scheme is entering its pilot program which will run for two years while being fully funded by the Labor Government and will allow workers up to five days of sick or carer’s pay at the national minimum wage.
The Victorian Government will be directly administering the program to workers for the next two years so as to minimise the financial impact on businesses after two years of COVID-19.
The program is designed to lower workplace injuries and illness and improve general productivity and lower staff turnover rates.
Minister for Workplace Safety Ingrid Stitt said economic recovery involves the workers themselves which is why it’s important they’re looked after.
“We need every worker for the recovery of our economy. The best way to do that is through secure work. This scheme will protect more Victorians and give them the support they need when they’re sick or caring for a loved one,” she said. About one in five casual and contract workers work more than one job to make a living which is often made difficult when they fall ill or have to take time off work to look after someone.
Premier Daniel Andrews said this program was much needed after the past two years of COVID-19 and would benefit many people.
“When people have nothing to fall back on, they make a choice between the safety of their workmates and feeding their family. The ultimate decision they make isn’t wrong, what's wrong is they're forced to make it at all,” he said.
“The last two years have shown just how difficult that choice can be for casual workers, so we’re doing what we can to make sure it’s a choice they don’t have to make.”
The first phase of the program includes, hospitality workers, food trades workers and preparation assistants such as chefs and kitchen hands, supermarket and supply chain workers, retail and sales assistants, aged and disability care workers, cleaners and laundry workers and security guards.
It’s estimated about 150,000 workers will be eligible in this first phase.
To find out more information, visit the Victorian Government’s sick pay guarantee website and to apply for a payment if you’re eligible, go to Service Victoria.
The last two years have shown just how difficult that choice can be for casual workers, so we’re doing what we can to make sure it’s a choice they don’t have to make. — Daniel Andrews