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Greens introduce sick leave bill to prevent second wave

Media Release
Adam Bandt 12 May 2020

The Australian Greens will today introduce a Bill into the Senate to provide Australian workers with fourteen days of paid sick leave to protect workers and fight the coronavirus. 

The Fair Work Amendment (COVID 19) Bill will mean the 3.3 million workers currently without paid leave entitlements will be able to access paid sick leave if affected by the virus, and will also ensure workers with leave provisions are not forced to exhaust their sick leave balances if their company temporarily closes because of the virus.

The Greens are also calling for the establishment of a $5m COVID-19 Leave Fund to assist the not-for-profit sector and small and medium private enterprises cover the cost of any leave taken by employees.

The Bill will be introduced by NSW Senator Mehreen Faruqi, the Greens lead on Industrial Relations in the Senate. 

Quotes attributable to Greens Leader and spokesperson for Industrial Relations, Adam Bandt MP: 

“The health advice is to make sure you stay home, even if you just have a tickle in your throat. Workers should be able to follow government advice to self-isolate without losing their income or their job. 

“As the government begins encouraging Australians to return to work, we can’t risk a second wave of the coronavirus because workers can’t afford to stay home from work. 

“Government should help the not-for-profit sector and small and medium businesses cover the cost of this new and important leave requirement.

“The Parliament must vote in favour of this Bill to protect workers and protect the health of the Australian community.”

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