UnionsACT supports calls for casual employees to receive sick-leave entitlements to ensure that working people in Canberra don’t pay the price for doing the right thing and self-isolating due to coronavirus.
There are approximately 65,000 workers in the ACT (and 3.3 million across Australia) with no sick leave entitlements (i.e. casual, contract, labour hire/temp). Insecure, precarious work leaves workers with little control or security over their lives, and there are numerous reports demonstrating casual jobs worsen workers’ health and mental health.
With governments and employers requesting workers self-isolate, the personal financial impact of precarious work will be severely exacerbated by casualisation and precarious work. I.e. while casual workers are doing the right thing by self-isolating, they will have no income.
The following quotes are attributable to Alex White, Secretary of UnionsACT:
“Without access to sick leave, casual workers who become ill face the dire choice of attending work while sick in order to have the income they need to survive, or be stood down by their employer without pay or self-isolate, and have no way to pay their bills.
“Other countries are providing direct support to casual employees by providing financial support to workers who are isolated.
“UnionsACT supports calls for sick-leave entitlements or specific financial support to be paid to casual workers, more than 65,000 of whom are in Canberra.
“Working people should not pay the costs of the Federal Government’s calls to voluntarily self-isolate, or face personal economic ruin if they are stood down without pay.
“The Federal Government should put aside its anti-union crusade and work with unions during this crisis.”