Residential casual workers miss out on sick pay

Casual workers in the residential aged care sector have been left out of a Victorian Government program to provide sick pay for people in insecure work.

It appears casual workers in the residential aged care sector in Victoria have been left out of a State Government program to provide sick pay for people in insecure work.

Among the workers included in the scheme, the Government’s website lists aged and disability carers “providing general household assistance, emotional support, care and companionship for aged and disabled persons in their own homes.”

There is no mention of residential aged care workers.

Responding to the announcement, Macquarie University’s Ageing and Aged Care Researchers Network chair Professor Denise Jepsen told Australian Ageing Agenda: “I would like to see the scheme extended to residential aged care workers, especially given the risk of infection contagion likely to be higher in residential aged care where more vulnerable residents are co-located.”

Under the scheme, to be trialled over two years, casual workers across a number of industries will be eligible for sick leave at the national minimum wage of $20.33 per hour, or $750 a week.

Unveiling the Sick Pay Guarantee scheme on Monday – the Labor Day public holiday in Victoria – Premier Dan Andrews said the pandemic had highlighted the pressures placed on people in casual work and the value of providing a safety net for people who fall ill.

“Insecure work is completely and utterly toxic,” said Mr Andrews. “It’s incredibly difficult for people who don’t know when their next shift is coming and wait most nights for a text message about whether they have a shift the following morning,” he said. “It’s incredibly difficult to plan, it’s incredibly difficult to make ends meet and it’s incredibly difficult to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.”

Professor Denise Jepsen

Professor Jepsen welcomed the news for in-home aged and disability carers. “Great to see any government giving new or additional benefits. Workers in this sector are massively underpaid.” However, she added: “A risk of a scheme like this is that we don’t want to encourage employers to increase their number of insecure workers,” she said. “We all want more workers in the sector in secure roles.”

AAA has sought clarification on whether residential aged care workers are included in the Sick Pay Guarantee scheme, but has not received a response from several inquiries.

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Tags: dan andrews, denise jepsen, faetured, featured, home care, sick pay, victoria,

1 thought on “Residential casual workers miss out on sick pay

  1. They should bring back permanent jobs. Then people would receive less in wages but receive long service leave and sick leave . This would also stop the need for people needing multiple jobs. That’s why people are willing to get less wages as a permanent worker. Feel sorry for the casual worker but at the same time this would be highly unfair to the permanent person getting less wages for the benefit of guaranteed sick leave.

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