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Pandemic Leave desperately needed with a quarter of South Aussie workers having no leave entitlement

Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young has called for South Australia to be included in the Federal Government’s Paid Pandemic Leave scheme, with ABS data revealing 186,000 South Australian workers have no leave entitlements.
Senator Hanson-Young has written to SA Premier Steven Marshall asking him to make the request to the PM to add the tool of paid pandemic leave to SA’s arsenal in the fight against Covid19.
“Prevention is always better than cure. Paid Pandemic Leave would help prevent a further health crisis, like that engulfing Victoria, from happening here in SA. Steven Marshall shouldn’t wait till SA is in a state of disaster, we need to act now,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
“Insecure work is spreading the coronavirus and with more than a quarter of the South Australian workforce having no paid leave entitlements, we are at risk of a second wave here.
“If people are sick, have symptoms or are waiting for the test results they must be able to afford to stay at home and take time off work. Paid leave for workers who is sick will help protect the rest of the community from further infection.
“80% of transmissions in Victoria occurred through the workplace. Paid leave could be the difference between South Australia continuing it’s relatively good run or a new outbreak.
“The PM should not be requiring states to wait until there’s thousands of infections like in Victoria before granting other states paid pandemic leave.
“Waiting until a state of disaster is declared in other states and territories is negligent. The PM should be offering support right now to help prevent the disaster from happening in the first place.
“These figures show that Scott Morrison’s unwillingness to grant paid pandemic leave across the board lifts the risk of another Victorian-style outbreak.
“Nationwide more than a million people are going to be pushed back to work without sick leave, which puts them at risk and jeopardises our nation’s social and economic recovery.
“Each one of those people risks having to decide whether that sore throat is worth cancelling the one shift they have that week. They’ll need to decide between following the health advice and keeping a roof over their heads, and we’ve seen in Victoria how that difficult decision leaves everyone worse off.
“The Greens were the first party to call for paid pandemic leave and we have a bill in Parliament to make it happen. Given the scale of the risk in virus-prone states and Scott Morrison’s unwillingness to act, the Greens will press ahead with our bill when Parliament resumes.”
 

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