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Andrew’s Government introduces “Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee” scheme

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Author:  Chao Ni, Principal

On 14 March 2022, the Victorian Government announced its introduction of a new employment benefit scheme called the “Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee” (the Scheme).

What we know about the Scheme:

  1. The Scheme will be initially funded by the Victorian Government for the first two years (as a pilot program) and thereafter likely to be funded by a new industry levy imposed on employers.
  2. The Scheme will provide five days of sick & carer’s pay each year (capped at 38 hours each year) for eligible Victorian casual workers and self-employed workers.
  3. To apply for the Scheme, a worker must:
    1. have the right to work in Australia
    2. be 15 years of age or older (under 18 year old workers require parental/guardian consent when making a claim)
    3. work in Victoria
    4. work an average of 7.6 hours or more each week in at least one eligible job
    5. have no access to sick or carer’s leave across any job
    6. work in one of the following jobs:
      1. hospitality workers
      2. food trades workers and food preparation assistants
      3. supermarket workers
      4. retail and sales assistants
      5. aged and disability care workers
      6. cleaners and laundry workers
      7. security guards
  4. Eligible workers can apply to register for the Scheme through the Service Victoria website: vic.gov.au/services/sick-pay-guarantee.
  5. All sick & carer’s payments made under the Scheme will be paid at the National minimum wage (currently $20.33/hour).
  6. Sick & carer’s leave benefits under the Scheme will not accumulate from year to year and will not be payable on termination of employment.
  7. Employers are not required to be notified of, or involved in, an application made by a worker under the Scheme (except to verify employment status if necessary) and all benefits are paid directly to the worker.

Further details of the Scheme can be found here.

Whether the Scheme will survive long term remains to be seen, with the deputy Liberal leader for Victoria, David Southwick, reportedly indicating that the opposition Liberal party would scrap the Scheme if elected in November 2022.

The MST Lawyers’ Employment Law team can assist with any questions about this article.  Please contact us today by email at workplace@mst.com.au or by phone +61 3 8540 0200.