New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has opted into the Federal Government’s paid pandemic leave program, which means workers in the state who don’t have sick leave can now access $1,500 when they are required to self-isolate.
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment was first announced for residents of Victoria, as it had been declared to be a “state of disaster”, but according to The Sydney Morning Herald, has now been relaxed to include NSW, Tasmania and Western Australia.
“If you’re someone who has a job and you don’t have any leave left, you will be paid $1500 for that fortnight you have to isolate,” Berejiklian said.
“We didn’t want to declare a State of Emergency in NSW which is what the criteria was to get the pandemic leave. I wrote to the Prime Minister saying ‘please can you support us in that way?’ and he very gladly accepted.”
The Government scheme is designed to support casual workers and contractors who aren’t paid sick leave and would then have to take leave without pay if they were required to self-isolate for two weeks due to COVID-19.
According to Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey, this was a much-needed move for workers in the state.
“This decision is welcome, if overdue,” said Morey. “No worker should ever have to chose between their health and their livelihood.”
According to Services Australia, the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment will be paid as a lump sum and can be accessed if you need to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone who has COVID-19. You must be directed to self-ioslate or quanatine by NSW Health to be eligible. Head to the Services Australia website for more information.