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Casual Sick Leave Scheme announced by Victorian Government

In March 2022, the Victorian Government announced the commencement of a new two-year program which will provide casual and contract workers in Victoria with paid sick and carer’s leave.

In March 2022, the Victorian Government announced the commencement of a new two-year program which will provide casual and contract workers in Victoria with paid sick and carer’s leave.

Under the National Employment Standards (NES), casual employees do not have an entitlement to paid sick and carer’s leave, but are entitled to two days unpaid carer’s leave when a member of the employee’s immediate family or household requires care or support because of personal illness, injury or an unexpected emergency.

To compensate for the lack of paid leave entitlements (sick and annual leave) that full-time and part-time employees receive, casual employees are entitled to a loading of 25% in addition to their ordinary rate of pay.  

The “Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee” introduced by the Victorian Government will provide registered workers with up to 38 hours (or five days) paid sick and carer’s leave pay in addition to their other entitlements under the NES.

The entitlement to payment of five days leave per year does not roll over and will be paid at the national minimum wage which is currently $20.33 per hour, with a maximum claim up to $772.54 per year. A medical certificate must be supplied if the leave is for more than 15 hours in a row.

Eligible employees will have to apply and make a claim directly with Service Victoria to receive payment.

The program will run for an initial two-year period and it is expected that more than 150,000 employees will be eligible. To be eligible, casual employees will need to be over the age of 15, work an average of 7.6 hours or more a week in an eligible occupation and not currently have access to sick or carer’s leave.

At this stage, eligible occupations include hospitality workers, food trades workers and preparation assistants such as chefs and kitchen hands, supermarket and supply chain workers, retail and sales assistants, aged and disability care workers, cleaners and laundry workers and security guards. Self-employed sole traders and freelancers are also eligible to apply.

The program will be initially funded by the Victorian Government, which has allocated an estimated $245 million for the first two years of the scheme. Beyond that, it is intended that the program will be funded by employers through the imposition of a levy.

At this stage, the scheme is limited to Victoria and there is no indication that this will be introduced Federally or by other Australian States.

 

Information provided in this blog is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Workplace Law does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this blog, or from links on this website to any external website. Where applicable, liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

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