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Australia's First Casual Paid Sick Leave Scheme To Be Trialled In Victoria

Australia's first paid sick leave scheme for casual workers will be trialled in Victoria, after the state government announced a two-year $245.6 million pilot program.

Eligible casual and contract workers will be given five days of paid sick leave per year under the trial, dolled out at the annual national minimum wage of $20.33 per hour.

About 150,000 workers in the hospitality, security, retail, cleaning, aged and disability care sectors will be included in the first phase.

These workers can register for the two-year pilot from Monday.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the difficult choice casual workers had to make between feeding their family and looking after the health of themselves, their families and their workmates.

"The pandemic has exposed things that are just wrong, and we have to do more, and we have to do better," he told reporters on Monday.

"Let's be clear: insecure work is toxic. It's not just toxic in our state, it's a problem across the whole country."

The Andrews Labor government will fund the scheme for its first two years.

It is expected to reduce workplace injuries and illness, improve productivity and lead to lower staff turnover rates, the state government said.

The United Workers Union, which represents many insecure workers covered by the pilot program, called on other jurisdictions to follow Victoria's lead.

"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," UWU National Secretary Tim Kennedy said.

"I commend the Andrews government for listening to the concerns put to them by workers and the union and call on the federal government and other state governments to consider a similar program."

He called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to amend the National Employment Standards to ensure 10 days of paid sick leave for all workers.