Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

Breaking news! Prime Minister Scott Morrison today announced that the pandemic leave offer of $1500 may extend to states and territories outside of Victoria.

Excerpt below and full transcript at this link.

“First of all, those payments, as you said, they will start from 8:00am today. We’ve also been able to agree with the Victorian government, because it is a shared initiative, that anybody who does not have or has run out of their sick leave and is being ordered to isolate can access the payment in Victoria today. Now, it is a shared cost arrangement with the Victorian government, they pay for the short term Visa holders in Australia and the Commonwealth pays for the Australian residents and citizens. Now, if other states or territories want to enter into a similar arrangement, then I will be making an offer to those states and territories if they wish to do that. Of course, they are not facing the same level of challenge and the health advice we had out of Victoria was to do this. So we are pleased to do it. That option is there for other states and territories where they believe they need to move to that stage.”

An overview of the pandemic leave payment is listed below.

  • The Prime Minister this week announced a new $1500 payment which will be available to workers who have exhausted, or do not have, sick leave and have been directed to self-isolate or quarantine by a public health official. People will be able to access the payment more than once, if they need to self-isolate more than once. The payment does not apply to people on JobKeeper or JobSeeker.   
  • The payment is intended to “supplement and support” Victoria’s existing payment system. Victoria will now pick up the bill only for temporary visa-holders who need the payment, while the commonwealth will pay for Australian citizens and residents. 
  • To receive the payment, workers make an application over the phone using the disaster recovery payments process line (180 22 66). 
  • The Prime Minister said the extra payment will be there for as long as the Victorian Government thinks it’s necessary. While the payment is linked to the state of disaster in Victoria, it could be extended to other states and territories if similar situations occur there. 
  • The ACTU has said the payment does not go far enough, calling for a full wage replacement and preferring it to be administered through the employer, similar to JobKeeper. 
  •  ACCI made it clear that if pandemic payments were legislated and financially backed by the government, they needed to come directly from the government, be it state or federal, and not through the payroll system. ACCI is continuing to engage with the Government concerning government-funded pandemic leave more generally.
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