Casual workers in South Australia will now be eligible for $1,500 in income support should they be required to enter 14 days of coronavirus quarantine, in a bid to keep sick people from going to work.
The funding is also open to workers who need to care for someone else needing to quarantine for 14 days, provided they are an Australian citizen or hold the necessary visa or permanent residency. They also can’t be receiving JobKeeper or JobSeeker payments and must be able to show that they would normally have been working during those 14 days. Workers who do not have any leave left are also eligible.
Similar to Victoria’s scheme, workers who are considered to be affected by a Covid-19 cluster are also eligible for $300 as they await their test results. The South Australia chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier identifies the clusters.
“The last thing we want is for any South Australian to have to make a choice between putting food on the table and protecting the community from possible infection and a potential second wave,” Health Minister Stephen Wade said on Tuesday.
“Lack of leave entitlements for workers, particularly casual workers, is considered a significant risk factor in not complying with isolation requirements.
“We’ve seen interstate the serious consequences of individuals who have continued to work while showing symptoms of Covid-19 or awaiting test results – with data from Victoria indicating as many as nine out of 10 people who later tested positive for coronavirus were not self-isolating between the onset of symptoms and getting a test.”
He said the payments remove the financial burden on workers as the state attempts to remain “hypervigilant” to protect the most vulnerable community members, particularly those in residential aged care.
He noted that a large proportion of the aged and disability care workforce is made up of casual workers.
However, returned international travellers will be unable to claim the payments as they enter their mandatory 14 day quarantine.
To apply, South Australians will need to meet the eligibility criteria and apply through the Department for Human Services.
The worker’s employer will also receive confirmation of a pandemic leave payment as an additional measure to keep at-risk workers at home.