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Does the $1,500 payment go far enough?

  • August 04 2020
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Does the $1,500 payment go far enough?

By Cameron Micallef
August 04 2020

The $1,500 pandemic payment set out by the Morrison government is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a national council of trade unions has warned.

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Does the $1,500 payment go far enough?

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  • August 04 2020
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The $1,500 pandemic payment set out by the Morrison government is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a national council of trade unions has warned.

sick person

From Wednesday, 5 August, Victorians who do not have sick leave credits available will be eligible for a $1,500 a fortnight payment to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new payment will help those without other support and who have already used their sick leave entitlements.

“This pandemic is a disaster and we need a disaster payment when it comes for people who have to isolate for a period of 14 days through no fault of their own, regardless of what their job is, or what employment they’re in, they need that support,” the PM stated.

Mr Morrison confirmed this is a disaster payment, being the payment is only available in Victoria, based on the state declaring a state of disaster.

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Mr Morrison said that if people have to self-isolate multiple times, they will be able to get the government payment. 

However, according to Sally McManus, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) secretary, the $1,500 a fortnight is the minimum wage when the average wage is double this amount. This means that nearly every full-time worker will still suffer a financial penalty for isolating. Only full wage replacement, like sick leave, can fix this.

“Any money for workers who are saving lives and saving jobs by staying home and doing the right thing is welcome, but this payment does not address the full scale of the problems, which fully funded Paid Pandemic Leave would address,” Ms McManus argued.

Instead, she advocates for new temporary paid leave entitlements so that workers will not lose wages, or potentially their employment, if they have to isolate or get a test.

“This payment will mean that nearly all full-time workers who are forced to rely on it will take a pay cut while they isolate. This will mean that a financial penalty still remains, this just weakens our COVID-19 defences.”

The unions also argue that leaving workers to call 1800 numbers and navigate another system also puts unnecessary barriers in the way.

“We need to do better. We need to do everything we reasonably can. The Morrison government cannot stop at this half-measure. We need federally funded Paid Pandemic Leave for all workers who need to get tested and isolate. That’s how we ensure that this pandemic ends as quickly as possible with as few people infected as possible,” Ms McManus concluded.

Does the $1,500 payment go far enough?
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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