ECEC employees added to Victorian Government’s sick leave trial
Thousands of casual, contract and self-employed workers in sectors and industries including early childhood education and care (ECEC) have been included in a trial from the Victorian Government which offers 38 hours of sick and careers leave each year.
As well as expanding the list of jobs and professions that are eligible for the taxpayer-funded leave scheme, the Victorian Government has extended the Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee to run until March 2025 and has previously indicated that any ongoing scheme would likely be funded by an industry levy.
The trial, which was initially set to run for two years at a cost of $245.6 million, has already been open to roughly 150,000 workers across industries including hospitality, retail, aged care, cleaning and security. More than 76,000 casual, contract and self-employed workers have signed up since its launch in March last year.
As well as those working in a casual, contract or self-employed capacity in ECEC, community support workers, taxi and rideshare drivers, arts workers, fitness instructors, tourism and outdoor recreation workers, factory workers, fruit pickers and hairdressers can check their eligibility and sign up to the scheme under the changes.
Newly eligible workers can apply for sick and carer’s pay from the day they sign up, and workers who were eligible in the first phase of the pilot will benefit from an additional year of the pilot.
The $245.7 million Australian-first initiative aims to reduce workplace illnesses and injuries and keep businesses safer and more productive.
Since the pilot launched in March 2022, the Sick Pay Guarantee has covered more than 1.8 million hours of sick and carer’s pay, giving workers the financial security to stay home when they’re sick or need to care for loved ones.
“People shouldn’t be forced to choose between going to work sick or putting food on the table – we’re proud to be expanding the Sick Pay Guarantee, because we know how important it is to support Victorians,” said Victorian Minister for Employment Ben Carroll.
“Insecure work has terrible consequences, and we know how important it is for people to have the support and certainly they need to stay home and recover if they are sick or caring for a loved one.”
Workers can check their eligibility and sign up online here or in the Service Victoria app. Neighbourhood Houses can also help people to sign up and access the scheme – visit www.nhvic.org.au to find a participating Neighbourhood House.
Information is available in 19 languages on the Sick Pay Guarantee website. To speak to an interpreter, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and ask for the Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee hotline.
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