The Sick Pay Guarantee – Ministerial Response

Scroll down for the Minister’s response, or click here to discover more about how we’re working for Wendouree.

Original constituency question from Juliana Addison MP to Parliament –

My question is for the Minister for Workplace Safety in the other place. Will the minister please advise how the Victorian sick pay guarantee pilot scheme for eligible casual and contract workers will benefit workers, businesses and families in my electorate of Wendouree?

I recently spoke to a young woman who is casually employed in the hospitality industry. Due to illness she was unable to work a number of her rostered shifts, which meant she received no income. Around one in five casual and contract workers work more than one job to earn a living, many without access to sick leave and carers pay.

With the introduction of Victoria’s sick pay guarantee, what benefits will this scheme provide her and many other Victorians who work in insecure jobs across the eligible industries?

I invite the minister to join me in Ballarat to promote how the Victorian sick pay guarantee will provide a better and fairer outcome for casual workers and other insecure workers.

Response from Ingrid Stitt MP, Minister for Workplace Safety (23 June 2022) –

I thank the member for her question.

The Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee pilot scheme will transform casual and contract work in Victoria, by providing eligible workers with the safety net they need to take time off when they are sick or need to care for loved ones.

Eligible casual and contract workers in eligible occupations can apply for up to 38 hours a year of sick or carer’s pay at the national minimum wage. Workers are now able to register for the two-year pilot program, and it is anticipated that more than 150,000 workers will be eligible in this first phase of the pilot.

Occupations included in the first phase of the pilot program 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.

The pilot program is fully funded by the Andrews Labor Government. We expect to see significant benefits for workers and businesses including a reduction in workplace injuries and illness, general productivity improvements from healthier workers, and lower staff turnover rates. These benefits will flow to industry at no direct cost to business. The Andrews Labor Government is also administering the program directly to workers, minimising business involvement so they can focus on economic recovery.

This Australian-first initiative will benefit many workers, their families, and workplaces within the member’s electorate of Wendouree.

I am grateful to the member for her dedication to improving outcomes for insecure Victorian workers. I recently had the privilege of joining the member in Ballarat, to meet with casual workers who are already benefiting from the pilot program.

I encourage all casual and contract workers in the Ballarat area to check their eligibility, register now, and not wait until they are unwell.