COVID-19 Pandemic Leave and Payments

Recent COVID-19 outbreaks across Australia have again highlighted the Morrison Government’s failure to look after Australian workers throughout the pandemic.

With the JobKeeper program ending in March, many workers now find themselves with limited support during ongoing outbreaks and lockdowns. Many more workers in insecure jobs have no access to paid leave for self-isolating, quarantining or care.

Here’s what is currently available for your members in each state and territory, including eligibility and how to apply.

If you need to take time off work to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

Funded by the Commonwealth, the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is a $1500 lump sum payment for each 14-day period a worker needs to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone. 

Payment

$1,500 for each 14-day period of self-isolation, quarantine or care.

Eligibility

For workers who:

  • Cannot earn income due to a requirement to self-isolate or quarantine because you have COVID- 19 or have been a close contact of someone who does (having been directed by a health official) or are caring for a child who has COVID-19 or is a close contact of someone who does (note: in these circumstances a 14 day quarantine/self-isolation period would be required).
  • Are aged above 17 years old
  • Live in a state or territory
  • Are Australian residents or hold an eligible working visa
  • Have no entitlement to relevant paid leave or have exhausted their entitlement

How to apply

Via telephone (by calling 180 22 66). Or by completing a form (which is different in each state):

If you are a worker affected by a state public health order you may be eligible for a COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a lump sum payment to help workers when COVID-19 restrictions last for more than seven days. This includes a public health lockdown, a period of restricted movement or a declared COVID-19 hotspot.

Payment

Payment varies based on the location and hours of work lost.

As of the 23rd July in NSW and Victoria, payments available are as follows:

$600 per week if a person in paid employment has lost over 20 hours; or

$375 per week if they lost between 8 hours and less than 20 hours of work.

Payments are made in arrears for the previous week.

See Services Australia for more information on other states as information is updated.

Eligibility

For workers who:

  • Live or work in a Commonwealth declared COVID-19 hotspot
  • Are in paid employemnet and cannot attend work and lost income on or after day 8 of COVID-19 restrictions
  • Have no entitlement to relevant paid leave or have exhausted their entitlement
  • Are an Australian resident or hold an eligible working visa;
  • Are aged 17 years or older

Workers cannot receive payment if they are receiving any income support payment or the Pandemic Leave disaster Payment for the same period.

Each State affected also has specific rules for eligibility, including the specific areas of the state in which you must work, reside or have visited in order to be eligible for payment and the dates for which you are eligible to claim.

New sections are added as lockdowns begin in new states. The current rules can be found at: Victoria, NSW, SA.

How to apply

For Australian residents, the payment can be claimed online through your myGov account.

If you are an Eligible working visa holder, you will need to call Services Australia on 180 22 66 to make your claim.

Claims for each week of lockdown open and close at their own individual times, which are available on the Services Australia Website.

Claims for the first week of Sydney lockdown close on 28 July and are the first to close. Claims then close 7 days later for the second week and so on for each weeek after that.

If you claim for a single week, you will have the option of receiving automatic payments for future weeks. If you do this and you later go back to work you MUST notify Services Australia.

In Victoria, if you are a worker who needs to self-isolate to wait for the results of a coronavirus (COVID-19) test, you may be eligible for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) test isolation payment.

Payment

$450

Eligibility

For workers who:

  • Are aged above 17 years old;
  • Have been, or are the carer or guardian of someone who has been, tested forCOVID-19
  • Were likely to work but not able to due to post-test self-isolation requirement
  • Did not receive any income for the period
  • Have no entitlement to relevant leave or have exhausted their entitlement.

Can be received in addition to $1,500 Pandemic Leave Disaster payment (if eligible for both).

How to apply

In South Australia, if you are a worker required to self-isolate because of a public health direction from SA Health and mandatory COVID-19 testing, you may be eligible for the SA COVID-19 Cluster Isolation Payment.

Payment

$300

Eligibility

For workers who:

  • Are required to self-isolate due to public health directions from SA Health and mandatory COVID-19 testing.
  • Do not have access to paid leave or other income support.

How to apply

In ACT, if you are a worker required to self-isolate while waiting for COVID-19 test results, you may be eligible for the COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment.

Payment

$270 for the first 3 days’ isolation and $90/day thereafter (if test results are delayed).

Eligibility

For workers who:

  • Reside, or work at least 80% of the time in ACT
  • Are unable to work, and are not receiving income as a result of post-test self-isolation requirement
  • Have to entitlement to relevant leave or have exhausted their entitlement
  • Have less than $5000 and are not receiving commonwealth income support

How to apply

In NSW, if you are a ‘micro’ business or sole trader you may be eligible for a COVID-19 Micro Business Grant, co-funded by the Commonewealth.

Payment

$1500 per fortnight

Eligibility 

For businesses or sole traders who:

  • Have a turnover between $30K and $75K
  • Have a revenure decline of 30% or more due to the NSW lockdown
  • Are businesses that provide the primary income source for a person associated with the business

How to apply

Register your interest with Service NSW

In NSW, if sole traders and businesses may be eligible for tthe JobSaver payment, co-funded by the Commonwealth.

Payment

Employing businesses: 40% of weekly payroll, with a minimum payment of $1,500 per week and a maximum payment of $10,000 per week.

Non-employing business: $1,000 per week

Eligibility

Eligible businesses must have:

  • A revenue decline of 30% or more
  • Turnover between $75,000 and $50 million

Note: The NSW government has indicated that employing businesses will be required to commit to maintaining their employment levels to receive this payment, but this requirement doesn’t apply to sole traders.

How to apply

Register your interest with Service NSW

Please note – the information on this page was last updated on 22nd July 2021. We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available.

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