The Victorian Government’s Sick Pay Guarantee reached a major milestone this month. The nation-leading program has now paid more than one million hours of sick and carer’s pay to casual and contract workers.
Minister for Multicultural Affairs Colin Brooks announced that 60,000 Victorians have signed up to the pilot program in its first year. It provides a much-needed safety net for vulnerable workers who need to take time off because they are sick or caring for loved ones.
Since the scheme launched on Labour Day last year, over $22 million has been paid to support more than 93,000 claims for sick and carer’s pay.
Minister Brooks said the scheme is giving casual and contract workers support when they need it most. “Casual and contract workers are telling us that when given a choice – a proper choice – they will choose to stay home and recover when they’re sick.”
Eligible casual and contract workers without sick leave entitlements can access up to 38 hours a year of sick and carer’s pay through the program, paid at the national minimum wage.
The Sick Pay Guarantee aims to reduce workplace illnesses and keep businesses safer and more productive – 41 per cent of workers surveyed said they would have gone to work unwell if they had not registered for the scheme.
Workers who are eligible to sign up include casual and contract retail assistants, hospitality workers, aged care and disability care workers, supermarket and supermarket supply chain workers, cleaners, laundry workers, security guards, food preparation workers, bakers, fast food workers, and kitchen hands.
The $245.7 million pilot is fully funded by the Victorian Government until March next year.
Casual and self-employed contract workers can check their eligibility and sign up online at Sick Pay Guarantee, in the Service Victoria app, or through a participating Neighbourhood House. Eligible workers can apply for sick and carer’s pay from the day they sign up.