In an absolutely monumental win for all casual employees Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has today announced a Secure Work Pilot Scheme that will see casual or insecure workers covered with paid sick leave for up to five days at the government’s expense.

I simply cannot stress just how huge this is.

Andrews took to Twitter to announce the new measure, citing the pandemic as a major reason why the government took such a big step to protect our most vulnerable workers.

Once up and running, the two-year pilot will afford these workers sick pay when they’re unwell, and carer’s pay when they need to take time to look after someone they love. Importantly, it will mean Victorians aren’t being forced to choose between the safety of their coworkers – and putting food on the table for their family,” he said in a statement today.

Specific details about exactly who is covered and how the scheme will work are yet to be revealed, but by the sound of it, its a huge win for hospitality and retail workers, who are often employed on a casual basis.

“When people have nothing to fall back on, they make a choice between the safety of their workmates and feeding their family. The ultimate decision they make isn’t wrong – what’s wrong is they’re forced to make it at all,” Andrews added.

“This isn’t going to solve the problem of insecure work overnight but someone has to put their hand up and say we’re going to take this out of the too hard basket and do something about it – and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

According to Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas, the scheme will be a win for both businesses and employees.

“Workers staying on the job when they’re sick is bad for business – for the rest of your staff and for your customers. We believe this scheme will benefit businesses and workers right across Victoria,” Pallas said.

If you’re lucky enough to have never been in the situation of having to choose between recovering from illness, or being able to afford to pay your rent, this may not mean anything to you. But as someone who spent many years in that exact situation, I simply cannot stress just how bloody huge this is.

Call him a “dictator,” call him a “socialist”, call him whatever the hell you want, but Dan Andrews has done thousands of young Aussies a huge solid with this one.

More details on the new scheme can be found on the Vic Gov website here.

Image: Getty Images