Casual, contract workers urged to sign up for Sick Pay Guarantee scheme

Move also seeks to keep local businesses safe and health

Casual, contract workers urged to sign up for Sick Pay Guarantee scheme

The Victoria government is calling on casual and contract workers across greater Geelong to register for the Sick Pay Guarantee initiative of the government. 

The programme is on its two-year pilot scheme that aims to provide workers up to five days a year of sick and carer's pay at the national minimum wage, as funded by the government.

A total of $245.6 million has been earmarked for the project, in a bid to encourage workers who feel sick to remain at home and not be forced to work just earn an income.

"We need every worker for the recovery of our economy – the best way to do that is through secure work. This scheme will protect more Victorians and give them the support they need so they don't have to make the choice between a day's pay and looking after their health," said Workplace Safety Minister Ingrid Stitt.

"The last thing you want to be doing when you're sick is trying to fill in forms – I encourage all casual workers in the Geelong area to check their eligibility, register now and don't wait till you're not well," said the minister.

According to the provincial government, the Sick Pay Guarantee project will help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses and make businesses healthier and more productive.

The programme is currently on its first phase, covering hospitality workers, food trades workers and preparation assistants, including chefs and kitchen hands.

It also covers supermarket and supply chain workers, retail and sales assistants, aged and disability care workers, cleaners, laundry workers and security guards.

In greater Geelong, the largest employers are the healthcare and social service sectors, followed by retail and accommodation and food services. These industries are all eligible for the phase one of the Sick Pay Guarantee, according to the provincial government. 

Read more: Victoria wants to expand paid family violence leave to private sector

"This scheme will help to keep our community and local businesses safe and healthy. I encourage all eligible casual and contract workers in the greater Geelong area to apply," said Member for Geelong Christine Couzens in a statement.

So far, the government said that more than six per cent of the approved applications for Sick Pay Guarantee are from the greater Geelong area.

More than 150,000 Victorian workers are eligible in this first phase of the pilot, according to the government, with 24,000 casual workers in the greater Geelong area, almost a quarter of the region's total workforce.

Previously, the Victoria government also announced a $400,000 investment to the Geelong Aboriginal Employment Taskforce to generate more jobs and provide upskilling opportunities to Aboriginal Australians.

 

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