Media Releases

Covid leave payments must continue

September 14, 2022

Today the National Cabinet agreed to extend the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments for as long as there are mandatory isolation requirements in all States and Territories.

This is welcome news for the growing number of South Australians in insecure work, who don't have access to leave.

Costs of the scheme are now split 50:50 between State/Territory and the Commonwealth Governments. The payments continuing is welcome, but the arrangement is precarious. If states or territories change their position, the safety net for the third of our working population without paid sick leave could be put at risk.

The reduction in payments alongside a reduction in isolation period will leave some workers (who may still miss a full week of work) worse off.

More clarity is needed with regard to what any new medical evidence requirements would mean for a healthcare system which is already overloaded.

"So long as workers are required to isolate due to a public health order, they should be compensated for doing the right thing. The pandemic highlights the urgent need for secure jobs. We can't expect workers already struggling with the cost of living to go without pay."

"We shouldn't be pulling back payments from working people who are doing the right thing and following the public health isolation orders."

"Workers must be supported when they're asked to isolate and keep the rest of the community safe. But this arrangement is precarious, that's why unions will be keeping the pressure on politicians to do the right thing."

"We need clarity around the 'medical evidence' requirements. Why are we bottlenecking more people through an already overwhelmed health system?"