Guarantee Wages for All Workers Sick, Isolated, Caring, Sacked or Stood Down over COVID-19

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COVID-19 is becoming established in Australia as an infectious disease.

Many workers find it difficult to access reliable COVID-19 testing or access medical practitioners to obtain certification that they are infected. Workers in the retail and fast food sectors have regular contact with members of the public who are unwell.

Supermarket workers are on the frontline right now but have few rights.

Infectious diseases leave is a common entitlement for workers in the public service  such as at schools. The casual loading in no way compensates for infectious diseases leave, nor does ordinary personal leave accruals account for the special circumstances of a serious infectious disease such as COVID-19.

Low paid workers living week to week need paid leave and guaranteed wages if stores close or reduce staffing. Other countries are introducing special measures to support workers and reduce the spread of the virus. 

With these issues in mind, we demand:

  1. Full infectious diseases leave for all workers for the entire period of illness, isolation or quarantine with casual workers paid at their average weekly wage of the past 6 months and part-time workers paid no less than their average weekly wage of the past 6 months;
  2. In recognition testing and access to doctors is limited, proof of COVID-19 not necessary for access to infectious diseases leave where a worker sends an email or SMS noting the basis of the required infectious diseases leave;
  3. Infectious diseases leave to also apply for the care of dependents during closure of ordinary care facilities such as childcare, schools or the like;
  4. Any standing down of employees to be on full pay with no reduction in any leave accrual;
  5. Any change, including any reduction, in rostering of casual and part-time employees to occur only following full consultation and such employees to be paid no less than their average weekly wage of the past 6 months;
  6. Full provision of cleaning facilities, PPE, hand sanitiser and toilet facilities at all work sites - including hand sanitiser freely available at the work station of all workers; and
  7. Recognition that those with compromised immune systems may require access to altered work arrangements or infectious diseases leave in different circumstances to other workers.