Union wins paid leave for casual APS workers impacted by COVID-19

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday March 17, 2020

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The union representing Australian Public Service employees has won paid leave for more than 8000 casual workers if they are affected by the coronavirus, and has called for the measures to be extended to all non-permanent staff.

The Community and Public Sector Union has been pressuring the Australia Public Service Commission by raising concerns about what might happen to casuals who don’t have access to paid leave as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens.

The APSC has responded and as of Tuesday, casuals who are required to self-isolate or who have contracted the coronavirus will have access to the paid leave, just like permanent staff.

CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly said she was pleased with the win for APS workers, but is concerned that there are thousands of public sector workers who are not covered by the new agreement.

“People shouldn’t have to choose between staying at home and paying the rent,” she said on Tuesday.

“We are glad that the APSC has confirmed that all public sector employees will have access to paid leave entitlements, including paid miscellaneous leave or work from home arrangements if quarantined.

“But we are very concerned that the government is refusing to provide any clarity if over 23,000 contractors and labour hire workers will be covered by this arrangement.”

The union has called on the federal government to ensure all workers have access to paid leave if they are affected by the coronavirus.

“On one hand we see the Morrison Government is trying to stimulate the economy, while on the other hand it is refusing to protect its own workforce,” Donnelly said.

“The CPSU is calling on the Morrison Government to ensure that it takes the plight of these 23,000 workers seriously. This is not just a matter of equity; it is about the essential public health response and ensuring government service delivery.”

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