Pandemic leave pay returns

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the reinstatement of the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

In recognition of the risks associated with more infectious variants of Covid-19 through the winter period, the Commonwealth agreed to reinstate the payment to 30 September 2022.

Eligibility for the payment will be backdated to 1 July 2022, to ensure that anyone unable to work owing to isolation requirements in this period, without access to paid sick leave, is supported.

Access to these payments will commence from this Wednesday (20 July), with existing eligibility requirements to continue.

Welcomed by retailers

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says the reinstatement of the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment will come as a welcome relief for workers who are left out of pocket when they’re forced to isolate with Covid.

“The pandemic leave payments were a valuable measure to support people in isolation when they couldn’t work, and the timing of their removal was problematic – in the heart of winter when infections were spiking, contributing to staff shortages across the economy,” says ARA Chief Industry Affairs Officer Fleur Brown.

“We’re pleased to see the restoration of the scheme and appreciate that emergency supports like this are not meant to last forever. The next couple of months will be challenging with daily caseloads set to remain high, so it’s appropriate this safety net remained in place. It will also reduce the risk of infected workers being at work.

“If you get Covid, that means seven days of isolation. And unfortunately for some, who are not eligible for sick leave, that means seven days of no income. We’re pleased to see the actions taken today by the federal, state and territory governments to ensure our most vulnerable workers continue to be supported.”

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