In order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces and protect the community from further transmission, the ACTU is calling for every single worker to have access to paid pandemic leave so they can be supported to get tested for the virus and self-isolate if necessary.

It has become abundantly clear that the virus is being spread in workplaces where people are in insecure and casual work and have no paid leave, or amongst permanent workers who have exhausted, or have only minimal, sick leave. Paid pandemic leave is a critical public health measure that would provide a circuit breaker to stem the rate of transmission by allowing those with symptoms to stay home without losing income.

Research conducted for the ACTU found that more than 80 per cent of Australians want the Government to provide paid pandemic leave for all workers.

Paid pandemic leave – which would be in addition to any other leave entitlement, available to all working people and funded by the Government – is essential to allowing workers to get tested and isolate when they need to.