Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on 3 August 2020 a Federal Government “pandemic leave disaster payment”. The payment will be a one-off amount of $1,500, available to workers in Victoria who have no sick leave available who have to self-isolate for 14 days as a result of an instruction by a public health officer.
It will only apply to workers in Victoria, where the Government has declared a “state of disaster” and imposed Stage 4 lockdowns, which are expected at this point to run until mid-September.
The Victorian Government has already announced that it will provide a disaster payment, principally made to those on short-term visas; that is, those who are not permanent residents or citizens of Australia who otherwise wouldn’t have accessed Commonwealth payments. The Federal Government will provide its payment to those who fall outside that scope and who don’t have leave available to them because it has been used up.
Accessing the Federal Government payment
Services Australia has provided further details on its website. It states that, to get this payment, the applicant must:
- be at least 17 years old;
- live in Victoria; and
- have no income from paid work, including sick leave entitlements.
In addition, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services must also have told the applicant to self-isolate or quarantine. They must have done this because the applicant:
- has COVID-19;
- has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19;
- cares for a child, aged 16 years and under, who has COVID-19; and/or
- cares for a child, aged 16 years and under, who has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
If a person has to self-isolate more than once, they can claim this payment each time. However, a person cannot get this payment if they already receive:
- an income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Paid Parental Leave or Dad and Partner Pay;
- the JobKeeper payment; or
- the Victorian Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support Payment.
Coronavirus Worker Supplement Payment (Victoria)
The Victorian Government announced its Coronavirus Worker Supplement Payment on 30 July. To be eligible for a one-off $1,500 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support payment, the claimant must have been instructed by the Department of Health and Human Services:
- to self-isolate or quarantine at home because they are either diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or are a close contact of a confirmed case; or
- that a child aged under 16 in the claimant’s care needs to self-isolate or quarantine at home because they are either diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or are a close contact of a confirmed case.
To receive the payment, the claimant must:
- be 17 years and over;
- be currently living in Victoria (including people on Temporary Protection Visas and Temporary Working Visas 457 and 482);
- be likely to have worked during the period of self-isolation or quarantine and are unable to work as a result of the requirement to stay at home;
- not be receiving any income, earnings or salary maintenance from work;
- have exhausted sick leave entitlements, including any special pandemic leave; and
- not be receiving the JobKeeper payment or other forms of Australian Government income support.
There is no requirement for a claimant to be a citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for the Victorian Government payment.