In an endeavour to build a healthier workforce, curtail workplace injuries and enhance the state of well-being of contractual workers, the Victorian government has launched the Sick Pay Guarantee initiative of the government.
Funded by the government, the programme is on its two-year pilot scheme that aims to provide workers up to five days a year of sick and carer's pay at the national minimum wage.
Over 150,000 Victorian workers are eligible in this first phase of the pilot, according to the government, with 24,000 casual workers in the greater Geelong area, almost a quarter of the region's total workforce. In fact, more than 6% of the approved applications for Sick Pay Guarantee are from the greater Geelong area.
A total of $245.6 Mn has been earmarked for the project, in a bid to encourage workers who feel sick to remain at home and not be forced to work just to earn an income, reveal media reports.
Further, the Sick Pay Guarantee project aims to also curtail workplace injuries and illnesses and make businesses healthier and more productive. Reportedly, in its first phase, the initiative covers hospitality workers, food trades workers and preparation assistants, including chefs and kitchen hands, supermarket and supply chain workers, retail and sales assistants, aged and disability care workers, cleaners, laundry workers and security guards.
"We need every worker for the recovery of our economy – the best way to do that is through secure work. This scheme will protect more Victorians and give them the support they need so they don't have to make the choice between a day's pay and looking after their health," said Ingrid Stitt, Workplace Safety Minister.
Adding that the last thing you want to be doing when you're sick is trying to fill in forms, Stitt encouraged all casual workers in the Geelong area to check their eligibility, register immediately and not wait till they're not well.
With healthcare and social service sectors being the largest employers in greater Geelong, followed by retail and accommodation and food services, all four of the industries will be eligible under phase one of the Sick Pay Guarantee project.
"This scheme will help to keep our community and local businesses safe and healthy. I encourage all eligible casual and contract workers in the greater Geelong area to apply," said Member for Geelong Christine Couzens in a statement.