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Upper House to vote today on Greens Bill to provide Covid Cover to frontline workers

Greens MLC Tammy Franks will today be bringing to a vote legislation that provides workers compensation to frontline workers affected by COVID-19. This is part of a move across the country by Greens MPs to ensure that those who are on the frontlines of the pandemic, and who have been
providing essential services, aren’t left without pay should they be exposed to the virus as a result of their work.

The Return to Work (COVID-19) Amendment Bill 2020 enables front line workers who contract or are suspected to have contracted COVID-19 to access workers compensation under the Return to Work Act 2014.

This legislation will use the same presumptive provisions as are used for firefighters, meaning that workers in industries covered by this legislation will have been presumed to have contracted COVID-19 through their work. It will cover all workers in industries where there is significant face-to-face or public interactions including health, education, hospitality, transport, and retail industries.

The legislation covers:

  • Workers who are off work having been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Workers who are self-isolated and awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • Casual workers who are tested for, or diagnosed with, COVID-19 within 21 days of last working,
  • Workers who die from COVID-19

Quotes attributable to Tammy Franks MLC:

“Too many workers don’t have leave entitlements that would allow them to economically survive a diagnosis of COVID-19. Frontline staff in people-facing industries are among the most vulnerable, given the required interactions with hundreds of people a day, but often have few legal protections should one of these interactions make them sick. The Greens want to change that."

“We can’t ask people to choose between health and a paycheck. Frontline workers who get tested for COVID-19 will need time off work while they await their results. They shouldn’t be left with no compensation or job security while doing so."

“Workers deserve compensation if they’ve contracted COVID-19 providing essential services for the benefit of us all. If we don’t provide them with financial support in their time of need, we’re letting down those very people on whom we’ve been depending to get us through this public health emergency."

Media Contact: Tammy Franks - 0457 549 938

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