So, paid pandemic leave is officially a thing
South Australian residents forced to self-isolate during the pandemic will now be eligible to receive $1500 from the state government if they are unable to access sick leave. This one-off payment will also be available to those who are unable to work in order to care for someone required to quarantine.
"The last thing we want is for any South Australian to have to make a choice between putting food on the table and protecting the community from possible infection and a potential second wave," SA’s Health Minister Stephen Wade said in a press conference.
"Lack of leave entitlements for workers, particularly casual workers, is considered a significant risk factor in not complying with isolation requirements."
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Workers in an identified COVID-19 cluster who are required to quarantine while awaiting test results will receive an additional upfront payment of $300. Wade is hopeful this will protect those most vulnerable to contracting coronavirus, such as residents in aged care facilities or living in supported disability accommodation.
"We've seen, interstate, the serious consequences of individuals who have continued to work while showing symptoms of COVID-19 or awaiting test results with data from Victoria indicating as many as nine out of 10 people who later tested positive for coronavirus were not self-isolating between the onset of symptoms and getting a test,” he explained, adding that it was important for everyone to remain “hypervigilant” in the midst of a second wave.
Currently, similar schemes are in place across Queensland, the ACT and Victoria.