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Government Announces Paid Pandemic Leave As Victoria Locks Down

Government announces paid pandemic leave as Victoria locks down

The government has announced it will provide paid pandemic leave following intense pressure from Labor, unions and business groups.

The new $1,500 payment will be available to those who have to isolate for 14-days to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

Government announces paid pandemic leave

Prime Minister Scott Morrision made the announcement late today as Melbourne enters strict Stage 4 lockdown.

The new payment will go to those who have been directed to stay at home by a public health official, and have no other leave available.

However, he says those on JobKeeper or JobSeeker are not eligible.

“This pandemic is a disaster and we need a disaster payment when it comes to people who have to isolate for a period of 14 days through no fault of their own, regardless of what their what job is, what they’re in or employment they’re in, they need that support.”

Essential public health measure

Federal Labor has been calling on the government to introduce paid pandemic leave since March.

Earlier today, unions joined forces with business groups to make a united plea for a federally funded scheme.

The ACTU and the Business Council of Australia wrote to Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter, calling it an “essential public health measure”.

The letter said:

“Unions and business have shown an extraordinary level of cooperation through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today we are coming together to support a paid pandemic leave scheme that helps all workers to comply with the applicable state and territory public health directives.”

Victoria a state of disaster

Earlier today, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the closure of most businesses in Melbourne, including restaurants and gyms.

“As heartbreaking as it is to close down places of employment, while I never thought that I would be telling people not to go to work, that is what we have to do in order to stop the spread of this wildly infectious virus, this deadly virus.”

Businesses not affected by the lockdown include:

  • supermarkets
  • grocery stores
  • bottle shops
  • pharmacies
  • petrol stations
  • banks newsagents
  • post offices

Mr Andrews also announced businesses forced to close will be eligible for a further $5,000 grant from his government.

“So that will mean $10,000 and indeed for those metropolitan businesses, it will finish up being in aggregate terms first and second wave payments in the order of $20,000 together with a number of other waivers of taxes and charges.”

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