Melburnians Who Must Skip Work to Self-Isolate After COVID-19 Testing Can Get a $300 Payment
And it's available as soon as a person is tested.
At this stage in the COVID-19 pandemic, we've all heard about social distancing, coughing into your elbow, avoiding physical contact with others and staying home if you display even the slightest symptoms. As championed by everyone from elected politicians to health officials, these messages have been stressed again and again for months now. But, if you suspect that you might be unwell and you're not in a financial position to miss work — because you simply can't afford to — adhering to the standard health recommendations isn't always simple.
To assist those who've been tested for COVID-19 and don't have the money to take time off work while they wait for their results, the Victorian Government has announced a new support payment — in the form of a one-off $300 sum. It's specifically aimed at folks in insecure employment, to ensure that not only they get tested as soon as possible but also quarantine afterwards, all without having to worry about their bank balance. And, it's available as soon as a person is tested.
In a statement on Thursday, July 23 — the same day that 403 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths were reported in the state — the Victorian Government advised that "as many as nine out of ten people who later test positive are not self-isolating between the onset of symptoms and getting a test". It also explained that more than half of Victorians who end up with a positive result aren't isolating between being tested and receiving that news.
The new $300 payment joins the state's previously announced $1500 hardship payment, which is available to workers who must isolate, won't have any income while they do, and aren't entitled to paid sick leave, special pandemic leave or other income support. To access the $300 amount, you also need to fit those eligibility requirements. So, you'll need to have been instructed to self-isolate or quarantine at home, have a continuing job that you'd be showing up to if you weren't required to self-isolate or quarantine, and have exhausted any sick leave and special pandemic leave entitlements. You can't be receiving the JobKeeper payment or other forms of Australian Government income support, either, or any income, earnings or salary from work during your self-isolation or quarantine period.
While clearly targeted at casuals, the scheme is also open to permanent, part-time, fixed term and self-employed workers who fit the above bill.
Although we've all been told plenty of times, take this as a reminder that anyone with any COVID-19 symptoms — such as fever, chills, sweats, a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, and loss of sense of smell or taste — is asked to get tested. And, to stay home between the onset of symptoms and having the test, and again until you're informed of your test results.
For further details about the Victorian Government's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker support payments, and about the status of COVID-19 in the state, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.
Top image: Julia Sansone
Published on July 23, 2020 by Sarah Ward