SA Greens MLC Tammy Franks has called on the Marshall Government to ensure the Morrison Government does not abandon more than one quarter of South Australian workers as fears grow that casual, precarious and gig economy workers will face dire straits if quarantined.
Last week the Government passed legislation that empowers officials to quarantine people who have been or who might have been exposed to COVID-19, yet the Greens are concerned about the lack of safety nets for workers who might be quarantined.
As a state, we have the second-highest share of casual workers in the country, with 28% of our workforce being employed casually.
Quotes attributable to Tammy Franks MLC:
“More than 1 in 4 South Australian workers have no access to paid leave. We need to support them so that they don’t have to choose between putting food on the table and averting a public health crisis.
“While the bosses of small businesses have already been given comfort, we can’t have more than one in four of our workers having to choose between averting a major health crisis or putting food on their tables.
“Two weeks is a hell of a long time to go without pay when you don’t have annual or any other type of leave.
“Our Government responses to the coronavirus must support casual, precarious, and gig economy workers for our public health, but also because it is the just thing to do.
“People are being told to stay home if they are sick, but casual workers are – by definition – workers without access to paid leave entitlements. For many, not going to work means not being able to pay rent, bills, buy food, or even losing their jobs.
“All workers should have access to paid leave if they are being required to isolate themselves. Without financial support, people will take the risk of going to work and potentially exposing others for their own survival.