Casual workers are at risk of losing money if they are forced to take time off because of coronavirus.
Employment experts say casuals risk their income if they become sick or forced to self-isolate.
Casual workers not entitled to sick pay
Full-time employees are entitled to 10 days of personal/carers leave which provides them with a safety net.
However, Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims says casual employees do not enjoy the same provisions.
“Casual employees have the least secure hours and pay, and may be reluctant to self-isolate,” he said.
“Furthermore, they will be more reluctant to take time off if they get sick because their livelihood is at risk.”
Government calls for more self-isolation
The Australian government confirmed all travellers arriving from Iran will need to self-isolate for two weeks.
The latest measure announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt will affect up to 900 arrivals each month.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an Australian citizen, a permanent resident or a visitor from Iran, the message is very clear – you are now required to self-isolate,” he told Sky News.
The new Iran guidelines follows the Government’s two-week forced isolation on Christmas Island of Australian evacuees from China.
Government needs to protect people’s incomes
Mr Heffernan called on the government to do more to ensure casual workers are protected if they take time off work.
“Casual workers forced to take time off for the virus, or forced to self-isolate need government assistance,” he said.
“If people are going to turn up to work sick because of financial need, then the virus will spread.”
Casual workers say they will work even if they are sick
Alex, 23, from Sydney, works at a radio station and said he would keep working until he had an official diagnosis.
And even then, he maintains, if manageable, he will push through.
“While symptoms are manageable I’d work, I have a tendency to continue working when I’m sick because I can’t afford to miss the money,” he said.
Meanwhile Jake from Perth said that even taking a couple days off every so often due to illness is hard.
Adding that he didn’t know how to manage financially for two weeks.
“I would do my best to not miss days at work and I probably wouldn’t even self-isolate following a trip to a ‘banned’ country unless I knew with certainty that I’d been exposed,” he said.
Forced-isolation cannot lead to dismissal
Mr Heffernan believes an official order from the government to self-isolate will protect an employee from dismissal.
“It’s a bit like having a medical certificate – an employer would find themselves facing an unfair dismissal claim if they sack someone on forced-isolation,” he said.
Please call our specialist team at Fair Work Claims today on
To connect with us, please follow us on
Fair Work Claims is part of the Supportah Network.
We are a private consultancy and advocacy firm with no affiliation to any government agency, commission or tribunal.