After months of uncertainty Prime Minister Scott Morrison has finally announced a $1500 pandemic leave disaster payment, which is set to be an absolute godsend for anyone struggling right now.
Much like the $1500 payment scheme Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews introduced weeks ago, paid pandemic leave is open workers who have to isolate and otherwise have no form of income. Basically, if you’ve exhausted your sick leave and need to quarantine for two weeks, the payment is designed to cover the immediate costs you’d otherwise struggle to pay.
“What we’re dealing with here is a disaster and we need to respond on the basis of the why we provide support in the midst of disasters. This pandemic is a disaster,” Morrison announced.
“We need a disaster payment when it comes for people who have to isolate for a period of 14 days through no fault of their own, regardless of what their job or employment status is, they need that support.”
The scheme is a huge win for anyone who isn’t a permanent resident or citizen, and has therefore been largely left out of the previous packages.
“They will principally be made to those on short-term visas – those who are not permanent residents or citizens of Australia who otherwise wouldn’t have accessed Commonwealth payments,” the Prime Minister said in Canberra.
Basically, the new payment is a safety net to prevent those of us who may fall through the cracks of the Job Seeker and Job Keeper payments.
“We will make sure that everyone else who finds themselves in this situation and they don’t have that leave available to them through their sick leave because it’s been exhausted will get a $1,500 payment for that fortnight.
At the moment, the payment is only available in Victoria (as a result of the state of disaster we have found ourselves in), but now that it’s a federal payment, other states will be covered if they enter a period of disaster. Obviously, nobody *wants* that to happen, but at least the financial security net is there if other states follow down a similar trajectory to Victoria.
“There is already a payment the Victorian government makes in relation to the period between when you take your test and when you get your test results back,” Morrison explained. “That’s already in place. So what we’re seeking to do is supplement support.”
Additionally, Scott Morrison announced that the payment is able to be accessed multiple times, meaning that (in theory), nobody should have to choose between following the government-mandated self-isolation orders and being able to put food on the table.
“People can actually access the payment multiple times if, unfortunately, they’re in a position where they have to self-isolate as a direct requirement on multiple times.”
Much like the scheme we’ve seen in Victoria already, the payment is only available to those who have been ordered to self-isolate as a result of either having a positive coronavirus case, or being an identified close contact of one. This means that if you choose to isolate without being asked, you unfortunately won’t be covered by this payment.
Unlike the initial restraints of the Job Keeper and Job Seeker payments, paid pandemic leave doesn’t have an end-date in writing. The payments are set to continue for as long as Victoria is in a state of disaster (which is at least the next six weeks).
Anyone in need of the pandemic paid leave will be able to call a yet-to-be-released government hotline from Wednesday to apply for the scheme.
More to come.