Workers with no sick leave remaining can access pandemic leave payment, if required to self-isolate

Federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters. Picture: DARREN HOWE
Federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has encouraged eligible workers to access the government's $1500 paid pandemic leave payment, which is available from today.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the $1500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, to be made fortnightly, for Victorians who need to self-isolate, but don't have any sick leave remaining.

The payment is currently available only in Victoria and for those not on JobKeeper or JobSeeker entitlements.

The Federal Government's payment can't be redeemed in conjunction with existing state government subsidies, such as Victoria's $300 payment for people to self-isolate while waiting for a test result.

Ms Chesters said each individual who wishes to access the payment must register their details.

"Paid pandemic leave should have been in place from the beginning," Ms Chesters said.

"It could have avoided loss of life and the disastrous impacts of stage four restrictions in Melbourne if we had paid pandemic leave entitlements."

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said for those who are required to isolate, there is no excuse for doing the wrong thing.

"While many people in quarantine weren't at home when door knocked, I have raised serious concerns about the state Health Department rules, which permitted COVID-19 positive people to leave home to exercise, putting others at risk," Senator Henderson said.

"Leaving home quarantine to exercise is now prohibited, but is the latest example of where things have gone wrong in Victoria."

Ms Chesters said support payments such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker shouldn't reduce in Victoria at the end of September, because of the state's harsher restrictions.

"These restrictions mean it is going to take even longer for businesses to recover and we require greater support over the long run," she said.

The JobKeeper and JobSeeker wage subsidies were extended in July, but the value of the payments will be scaled back from late September.

JobKeeper rates will reduce from $750 a week to $600 a week for people working 20 or more hours.

The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement will also fall by $150 a week after September.

Victorians are now exempt from recently reintroduced mutual obligation requirements for those in receipt of the JobSeeker payment.

The mutual obligation requirements in other states and territories require job seekers to participate in at least one phone or online appointment with their job services provide, undertake four job searches a month and agree to a job plan.

Ms Chesters said job seekers should continue to look for work opportunities, despite a bleak jobs market.

"You will earn more if you are off JobSeeker and in a job," Ms Chesters said. "For every job vacancy, there are 13 people looking for work and it is just getting worse."

This story Eligible employees can access paid pandemic leave now first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.