Union lobbies for vaccination leave for all workers as COVID challenges persist
Unions NSW has called on the New South Wales and Federal Governments to provide a minimum of half a day of paid leave for all workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as many states and territories across the country move back into restrictions and border closures.
“Every barrier and impediment to vaccination must be removed as soon as possible,” said Mark Morey, Secretary of Unions NSW. “There are many things slowing the vaccine rollout, but one element is the cost of missing work, especially for people who are insecurely employed and on modest incomes.
Mr Morey called on the NSW Government, the country’s largest employer, to set the trend by introducing “vax leave” for all NSW Government employees, and then using this to make the case for vax leave at the National Cabinet, lobbying for this to be funded for all casual and contract workers, as well as enshrining it as a right for permanent employees.
“As things currently stand, employees have no right to get vaccinated on work time. Why are we creating more barriers to vaccination? Workers can’t even use their sick leave to get vaccinated under the national employment standards. This needs to be fixed, immediately,” he added.
“It was revealed this week that only one-third of employees in aged care have been vaccinated. And the current Sydney outbreak stems back to an unvaccinated Bondi limousine airport driver. Rather than blaming these workers, perhaps it’s time to make it easier and more attractive to get vaccinated. That would give true meaning to the idea that ‘we are all in this together’,” he said in closing.
To learn more about the work of Unions NSW, see here.