Victoria to Implement Paid Sick and Carer's Leave Trial for Casual Employees

Mar 14th, 2022

Dan Andrews has announced that the Victorian state government will look to undertake a trial for paid sick leave for casual employees.

While it was recently brought up in late 2020, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Victorian Premier raised the possibility of a pilot scheme. Individuals with more precarious employment suffered more than others – often workers, and particularly casual employees, were forced to choose between isolating and waiting for test results, or continuing to work because they could not afford to be sick from work.

While this was a large part of the reasoning for isolation payments that were introduced by the federal and some state governments, the Andrews government does appear to be looking beyond just COVID-19.
The trial will provide certain workers (including casual employees) with up to 5 days of paid sick or carer’s leave per year. This would be paid at the national minimum wage. In the event the scheme becomes permanent, it is intended to be funded by an industry levy.

Eligible workers for the first phase of the initiative will be those with the most insecure and vulnerable work. These industries will include hospitality workers, chefs and kitchen hands, retail assistants, aged and disability care workers, cleaners, laundry workers, and security guards. Altogether, its anticipated it might include as many as 150,000 workers.

Presenteeism can be an issue in the workplace – employees coming to work while unwell does result in reduced productivity for employers and can have flow on effects to the rest of their team, such as spreading a virus in the workplace and leaving others unfit for work. This initiative would look to address this concern and minimise its impact on the workplace.

The trial will run for two-years, and it will be the first of its kind in Australia.

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