Victorian Government Announces Paid Sick Leave Trial

Victoria announces paid sick leave for casual employees trial

The Victorian Government has announced its Paid Sick Leave Trial Scheme for casual workers in certain occupations. NBIA IR & HR consultant Craig Pollard tells us about the Scheme and how it will impact the retail baking and food manufacturing industries that are included in the trial.

The Paid Sick Leave Trial Scheme will work in much the same way as the portable long service leave schemes currently in place in Queensland and New South Wales for the cleaning industry. This means that the employee will be registered with the Scheme and will be paid when they qualify for the leave and meet the evidence requirements.

During the initial trial, the Victorian scheme will be funded through general tax income from the State Government, however, if the Scheme is to continue, the Government may consider introducing a levy payable by businesses. This levy would most likely be a percentage of the total payroll which would have to be paid on a regular (possibly monthly) basis.

The full list of jobs currently covered by the Scheme are:

  • hospitality workers
  • food trades workers and food preparation assistants
  • supermarket workers
  • retail and sales assistants
  • aged and disability care workers
  • cleaners and laundry workers
  • security guards

We can expect this list to expand as the Scheme gains traction. In order for one of the above workers to be eligible to receive payments they must meet the following criteria:

  • you have the right to work in Australia
  • you’re 15 or older
  • you go to work in Victoria
  • you’re working an average of 7.6 hours or more each week in at least one eligible job
  • you have no access to sick or carers leave across any job

Payment will be at the Federal Minimum Wage and not the hourly rate paid by their employer. Furthermore, it would appear that payment is made to the employee directly from the Government and not through a business’s payroll.

The important takeaway from this is that there is no additional cost to businesses (YET) but this will more than likely change as the Scheme takes hold and spreads across more occupations and industries and a levy is introduced. The Scheme is being opposed by many employer organisations and we will await further developments.

If you have any questions about IR/HR please call the NBIA Membership Hotline on 1300 557 022 or email the NBIA Membership Officer.