Daniel Andrews will grant casual workers in priority industries five days of sick and carer’s leave at the national minimum wage of $19.84 an hour.
The Victoria premier said the coronavirus pandemic has shown that people with ‘insecure work’ need help to make sure they do not work when ill.
Tuesday’s state budget will provision $5million for setting up a two-year trial of the scheme which will also pay workers to take time off to care for loved ones.
The Victoria Premier said the coronavirus pandemic has shown that people with ‘insecure work’ need help to make sure they do not work when ill
The trial will be funded by Victorian taxpayers – but any permanent scheme will be paid for by some kind of extra tax on employers.
‘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,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘This isn’t going to solve the problem of insecure work overnight but someone has to put their hand up and say we’re going to take this out of the too hard basket and do something about it – and that’s exactly what we’re doing.’
Sick people going to work was identified as factor in the spread of coronavirus around Victoria during the state’s deadly second wave which began in late May.
The Victorian Trades Hall Council backed the proposal, saying it was a ‘huge win for Victorian workers’.
The Victorian Government’s Covid-19 Test Isolation Payment and the Commonwealth’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment for people who are required to isolate after a positive diagnosis or quarantine as a close contact remain available.