26 September 2023

Victorian casuals win sick pay and leave

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In an Australian first, casual workers in Victoria are to have access to sick leave, following the introduction of Service Victoria’s Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee.

Announced by Premier, Daniel Andrews, the scheme is to transform casual and contract work in Victoria by providing vulnerable workers with the safety net they need to take time off when they are sick or need to care for loved ones.

“Before the pandemic, many casual and contract workers were forced to choose between a day’s pay or their health,” Mr Andrews said.

“Around one in five casual and contract workers work more than one job to earn a living – many without access to sick and carer’s pay,” he said.

“Workers are now able to register for the two-year pilot program and it is anticipated that more than 150,000 workers will be eligible in this first phase.”

Mr Andrews said eligible casual and contract workers in certain occupations would receive up to five days a year of sick or carer’s pay at the national minimum wage.

The Premier said occupations included in the first phase of the scheme were 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.

He said the State was fully funding the Scheme over the first two years, “which is expected to demonstrate a reduction in workplace injuries and illness, general productivity improvements from healthier workers, and lower staff turnover rates”.

Mr Andrews said Service Victoria would administer the program directly to workers, to minimise the impact on businesses.

Further information on the Guarantee can be accessed at this PS News link.

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