Victoria announces trial program offering sick and carers leave to casual or insecure workers

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Victorian casual workers in industries like cleaning, hospitality and aged care could get up to five days of sick and carers leave under a “secure work pilot scheme” announced by the State Government today.

The two-year pilot would commence in late 2021 or early 2022, and focus on “priority” industries with high rates of insecure work.

Workers who qualify would be entitled to up to five days’ pay at the minimum wage for either leave payment when they are sick, or taking care of someone else who is sick.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the coronavirus pandemic had exposed existing problems with insecure work, including the tough choice casuals faced when they were sick but did not have leave to fall back on.

“Insecure work is toxic,” he said.

The Victorian Government will include $5 million in tomorrow’s Budget to design the scheme.

Details to be hammered out include what documentation workers will need to provide to support their payment applications, and what protections there will be for workers who apply.

The Premier said the Government would consult with workers, unions and industry groups to develop the pilot.

“We want this to be as rigorous as possible, we want there to be hurdles to get over — we think that we can strike that balance,” he said.

The trial will be funded by the state, but industry levies would likely be charged to pay for the scheme if it becomes an ongoing program.

More to come.

(Original ABC Article)