No access to paid sick leave and insecure working conditions are putting Australians at greater risk of COVID-19 infection, according to a submission by epidemiologists from ANU in response to the Morrison Government’s proposed IR Omnibus Bill.

The Public health experts from ANU recommend removing any provisions from the Bill that promotes insecure work, which would in turn create an immediate and severe health threat to the Australian people.

The submission outlines how highly at risk workers in insecure jobs without paid sick leave will not be able to self isolate or quarantine as needed while still earning a wage to support themselves and their family. Insecure work leads many to go to work out of necessity – this system is fundamentally flawed.

The growing rate of insecure work, and the refusal of the Morrison Government to address it is a danger to the economy, and a public health risk to all Australians.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“We’ve said this from the very beginning of this pandemic: workers need to know they can get tested and isolate at home as required, while still being able to put food on the table for their families.

“The people who do work that can’t be done from home are our essential workers, and they’ve been on the frontline of this pandemic the whole time. They deserve secure jobs and peace of mind. 

“Rather than building a stronger, more resilient economy through the recovery, this bill would make work more insecure and make workers and our whole community more vulnerable to future crises.   

“The Morrison Government should be doing everything possible to keep Australians safe. Instead they want to cut pay and rights for working people and create a weaker economy.”