Mar 15, 2022

Victoria set to trial paid sick-leave for casual workers

Victoria set to trial paid sick-leave for casual workers

As part of the trial, casual and contract workers in aged care, disability, hospitality, food and retail will be able to register for the scheme, which will provide eligible workers with up to five days per year of sick or carers pay at the national minimum wage of $20 an hour.

The Andrews government expects that up to 150,000 casual and contract workers in Victoria will be eligible to receive payments.

“Insecure work is completely and utterly toxic,” said Mr Andrews on Monday.

“It’s incredibly difficult for people who don’t know when their next shift is coming, have no idea what a full working week will look like, wait most nights for a text message about whether they have a shift the following morning”.

While the news comes as a welcome relief for the hardworking aged care and disability staff who have endured unimaginable pressure throughout the pandemic, news that the scheme would be funded by yet another tax on Victoria’s small businesses has been met with loud opposition.

Despite promising not to increase taxes or impose new taxes on the eve of his election in 2014, Victoria is proportionally the most taxed state in Australia under the Andrews government.

News of more taxes for Victorian small businesses comes only two weeks after the Victorian government’s failed attempt to tax housing developers to pay for social housing, which would have increased costs for Victorians looking to buy a home.

Speaking with The Age, Victorian Deputy Liberal Leader David Southwick condemned the announcement and vowed to scrap the trial if elected to ease the financial burden on Victorian businesses.

“We need to understand who’s paying this, what it costs, and what happens after the trial,” Mr Southwick said.

Federal Industrial Relations Minister Michaelia Cash was also critical of the new scheme, describing the idea to tax Victoran businesses as putting a “handbrake” on the Victorian economy.

The United Workers Union has welcomed the news of Victoria’s Sick Pay Guarantee Scheme, with national secretary Tim Kennedy saying that it will bolster financial security for Victoria’s casual workforce.

“If the COVID pandemic has shown us anything, it is that casual, precarious and insecure work has ramifications for the health of the whole community,” said Mr Kennedy.

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  1. The casual rate of pay incorporates leave loading already so effectively they’re getting paid twice!
    Obviously employers will convert these casual staffers into permanent part time employees and stay away from employing casual staff.
    This will effect employment more than the actual business. Lots of people request to be employed as casuals.

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