Retail and hospitality executives in Australia have called for the reintroduction of $750 Covid sick leave payments, despite the payments costing Australians $1.9 billion.
Labor scrapped weekly sick leave payouts last week after racking up nearly $2 billion in debt since it was introduced by the Morrison government in August 2020.
Albania’s government has followed through on the Coalition’s decision to halt payments at the end of fiscal year 2021 to 2022 and said the $1 trillion national debt and the removal of most Covid restrictions meant that the payment was no longer advantageous.
Retail and hospitality executives have called for the reintroduction of $750 Covid sick leave payments to help struggling casual workers who have “a choice between following public health instructions and not having a came back for a week”
However, with nearly 42,000 cases reported on Friday and cases expected to rise through the winter, casual hospitality and retail staff said the end of payment has come at the worst possible time.
Sydney barista Julian O’Neill said he was still awaiting his Covid sick leave payment from the end of June and noted that casual staff were not receiving paid sick leave but were still subject to a period of seven-day isolation.
“A lot of us live from week to week, so if you’re sick and you’re not working full time, so you’re not taking sick leave, you’re running out of money for groceries. , rent, bills, just life,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Australian Council of Trade Unions chairwoman Michele O’Neil said the decision to scrap the payment was a “short-term reflection”, while Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union secretary Steve Murphy warned that workers would retaliate.
A barista in Sydney said casual hospitality and retail staff were ‘living week by week’ and that the end of the safety net payment meant they had ‘no money for groceries, rent, bills, just life”
“Whatever we have to do to get the government’s attention we will do,” Murphy said, setting the movement’s first collision course with the new Labor government, while calling on them to back up their praise for the front line workers of the pandemic.
Australia is still requiring positive Covid cases to self-isolate for seven days, exempting a few key sectors like transport and health.
Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said Australia is now at a stage ‘where we are living with community transmission’.
“Requirements for when people have to self-isolate and for how long have been significantly reduced since payment was introduced,” he said.
Labor scrapped the weekly Covid leave payment last week after racking up nearly $2 billion in debt since it was introduced by the Morrison government in August 2020
“We inherited a budget with a trillion dollars in debt, so sticking to the plan of letting those payments expire 2.5 years into the pandemic is the responsible thing to do.”
However, Australian Retailers’ Association CEO Paul Zahra said the removal of the ‘valuable’ payments safety net ‘comes as staff absences and labor shortages continue to cripple the business. ‘economy”.
“While a lot of progress has been made in the way we live with Covid, we need to find the right balance where vulnerable people forced out of their jobs continue to be supported,” he said.
In May, 780,500 people were working fewer hours due to illness, the highest number recorded in five years according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
However, Australian Retailers’ Association CEO Paul Zahra said the removal of the “valuable” payment safety net meant that “vulnerable” workers would not be supported.
Pizza chef Fynn Barker said forced isolation without payment as a casual worker means he’s “in a pretty tough spot”.
“Inflation and electricity prices are high, my bills have almost doubled this month and rent has also gone up,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid said the government must be clear on whether or not to support the community during the pandemic after extending hospital funding to states and introducing a fourth dose of vaccine , but reducing the vital payment.
“It’s literally a choice between following public health guidelines and having no income for a week,” he said of the casual workers.