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Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment Changes September 2022

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, originally scheduled to end on September 30, has been extended by the Government for an unspecified period. Government has indicated the payment will remain in place for as long as public health orders requires positive COVID-19 cases to isolate. 

Current public health orders require 7 days isolation for positive cases in high-risk workplaces and a new requirement has been added for just 5 days isolation in low-risk workplaces. Workplace risk levels are defined by state governments. Whilst there is no anticipated date for the expiry of these public health orders, National Cabinet is meeting later this month to consider a process for their removal. 

How much will I get?

If you work in a high-risk workplace and you’re unable to work during your 7-day isolation period, you can receive: 

  • $450 if you lost at least 8 hours or a full day’s pay, but less than 20 hours 
  • $750 if you lost 20 hours or more of work. 

If you don’t work in a high-risk workplace and you’re unable to work during your 5-day isolation period, you can receive: 

  • $450 if you lost at least 8 hours or a full day’s work, and less than 20 hours 
  • $540 if you lost 20 hours or more of work. 

If a worker lost less than 8 hours or a full day’s work during the 7- or 5-day period of self-isolation, quarantine or caring, they would not be eligible for this payment. 

Caring periods will be either 5 or 7 days, depending on the isolation requirements of the person with COVID-19 that you’re caring for. 

If you’re unable to work after your isolation period because you, or the person you’re caring for still has symptoms, you can submit a second claim. You’ll need evidence for your second claim. You are limited to three claims every six months except in extraordinary circumstances. 

A full day’s work is defined as the hours a worker was scheduled to work or would usually work on a given day. This includes not being able to attend a full time, part time or casual shift of less than 8 hours. 

Who can apply?

 To be eligible for the scheme, a worker must: 

  • be aged at least 17 years old 
  • be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or a temporary visa holder with the right to work 
  • be unable to attend work because: 
    • a health official has told them or a child in their care (via letter, email, SMS or phone), to self-isolate or quarantine at home because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are a close contact of a person who has tested positive or 
    • they are caring for someone who has to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 or 
    • from 10 January 2022, have registered a positive COVID-19 result from a home-administered rapid antigen test with their state/territory health authority
  • have expected to work during the period of isolation, quarantine, or care 
  • not be exempt from the requirement to isolate 
  • not be receiving an income support payment (including the COVID-19 Disaster Payment) 
  • not have received or applied for an equivalent state support payment for the same period and 
  • you have no sick leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or leave to care for another person 
  • you have liquid assets of less than $10,000 on the first day of the period you’re claiming for. 

You must submit a claim within 14 days of the start of your isolation or caring period. Workers should also note that the payment is taxable and will not automatically appear on your tax return forms – it needs to be entered manually. 

Extended to 30 September 2022

In the 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

Union members strengthen workers’ rights

No one should have to choose between isolating with COVID or putting food on the table. That’s why workers in unions have campaigned to create and protect paid pandemic leave.

When the Federal Government announced paid pandemic leave would end in the middle of winter 2022, union members stood up and successfully pressured the government to restore the leave.

Being a part of your union benefits your health and safety. The evidence shows that having a union health and safety representative at work leads to better reporting of health and safety risks. 

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