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Huge pay win for casual workers

COVID SYDNEY
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NCA NewsWire Photos SEPTEMBER, 20, 2020: Taxi signage is seen in the CBD of Sydney. A Sydney taxi driver has tested positive for COVID-19 after working eight days while infectious and visiting several venues in Sydney and on the South Coast. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

A big boost in pay and job security is coming for thousands of casual workers.

The Victorian Government’s new Sick Pay Guarantee has today been expanded, with hundreds of casual workers now eligible for up to 38 hours a year of sick and carer’s pay.

The $245.7m policy, an Australian-first initiative that kicked off in March 2022, looks to reduce workplace illness and injury.

More than 76,000 casual and contract workers across the retail, hospitality, aged care, cleaning and security sectors signed up for the scheme following its launch.

The guarantee has covered more than 1.8m hours of sick and carer’s pay, according to government data.

It has now been extended to cover workers in more than 400 professions, from taxi drivers and childcare workers to hairdressers and fitness instructors.

Victorian Employment Minister Ben Carroll has heralded the government’s extension of its Sick Pay Guarantee scheme. Picture: AAP Image / Wayne Taylor)
Victorian Employment Minister Ben Carroll has heralded the government’s extension of its Sick Pay Guarantee scheme. Picture: AAP Image / Wayne Taylor)

The guarantee pilot program will run to March 2025.

“People shouldn’t be forced to choose between going to work sick or putting food on the table,” Employment Minister Ben Carroll said.

“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.”

To be eligible for the cover, workers must be 15 years or older, physically work in Victoria, work an average of 7.6 hours per week or more in an eligible job and not have access to paid sick or carer’s leave entitlements at any job.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics classifies a casual worker as one who does receive paid leave entitlements.

Casuals are paid higher take-home pay rates in lieu of leave benefits.