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Healthy workers equal a healthy economy: Shears

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The Australian Government’s decision to extend the pandemic leave disaster payment (PLDP) has been praised by Hunter Workers.

With COVID-19 cases expected to peak again in August, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese declared the recompense would be restored this week.

Claims open from 8am on Wednesday 20 July.

“I’ve said during the election campaign repeatedly that one of my themes was ‘no one left behind’ and indeed I want to make sure that people aren’t left behind,” Mr Albanese explained.

“National cabinet will reassess Australia’s COVID-19 situation every two to three weeks.”

He added the funding for the pandemic payments would be split 50/50 between federal and state and territory governments.

Hunter Workers secretary Leigh Shears applauded the move.

“We welcome the announcement to reinstate pandemic leave support payments,” he said.

“It’s an important measure that assists in reducing the spread of COVID-19, keeping workers and our communities safe.

“Our appreciation also goes to Hunter MP Dan Repacholi, Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon, Shortland MP Pat Conroy and Paterson MP Meryl Swanson for their efforts in supporting and advocating for our region.

“Healthy workers equal a healthy economy.”

Hunter Workers and its affiliated unions encouraged the Australian Government to “return the safety net” to employees when the PLDP scheme lapsed on 30 June.

“Workers without paid sick leave are still required to isolate for seven days and will now be forced to go without a week’s pay or show up sick, risking spreading the virus and receiving a heavy fine,” Mr Shears said earlier this month.

“Ending the payments when we are still in the midst of a pandemic is a risky and dangerous decision.

“People are still dying from this virus.

“Being able to take paid time off when you are sick shouldn’t be a privilege.

“It should be a guarantee for all workers.”

The national cabinet will also reinstate the crisis payment for health emergency compensation until the end of September.

PLDP is a lump sum payment to help you during the time you can’t work and earn income because you have to:

  • Self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19, as required by your state or territory government; or
  • You’re caring for someone who has to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19, as required by their state or territory government.

You have to self-isolate or quarantine for one of the following reasons:

  • You have coronavirus (COVID-19);
  • You’re a close contact of a person who has COVID-19;
  • A child you care for who is 16 years or under, is a close contact of a person who has COVID-19;
  • You’re caring for someone who has COVID-19;
  • You’re caring for someone with disability or a severe medical condition who must self-isolate or quarantine because they’re a close contact of a person with COVID-19.

You’re a close contact if you either:

  • Usually live with the person who has tested positive with COVID-19; or
  • Have stayed in the same household for more than four hours with the person who has tested positive with COVID-19 during their infectious period.

You must also meet both of the following requirements to be eligible:

  • You’ve lost at least eight hours or a full day’s work; or
  • You have liquid assets of less than $10,000 on the first day of the period you’re claiming for.

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