In a huge win for workers across Australia, the $1500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment ill now be available for workers in NSW from today.
The scheme, which kicked off in Victoria last month, will now be available for workers in other states if they need to self-isolate for 14 days for coronavirus testing.
All states are eligible for the scheme, but NSW, WA, Tasmania and Victoria are the only state governments that have applied for it so far.
“The support is there. We want to make sure, first and foremost, that those who need to isolate do so,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
“Our first and foremost priority is to keep the community safe. If you have been asked to isolate whether you have been a close contact or whether you have symptoms or for any other reason, please follow those instructions and the government is here to support you.”
The scheme is essentially designed as a safety net amid the coronavirus pandemic, with aims to protect anyone who wouldn’t otherwise be covered through JobKeeper, JobSeeker or sick leave. So, it’s not an extra $1500 for all of us, but it’ll be an absolute godsend for the people who are otherwise forgotten.
As Scott Morrison put it last month, the payment is designed to mean that there is “no economic reason for you to go to work” if you’ve potentially been exposed to coronavirus.
It may seem weird to implement this payment when it feels like we’re finally getting on top of the virus (knock on wood), but the scheme is being used as a way to minimise any future spread, especially when cases begin to drop and we start living a more COVID-normal life.
Western Australia even opted in to the scheme, despite having zero community transmission, because he wanted to be “prepared for the worst.” Basically, this means that if and when an outbreak occurs, people are already entitled to the payment, which – in theory – should prevent anyone from going to work if they shouldn’t be.
The rules for the scheme are the same as the Victorian payment, with anyone who is directed to self-isolate by health authorities and fits the criteria (basically, you’re not on any other payment/don’t have sick leave) able to access the payment.
You can find out more about the payment and how to access it here.