Workers testing positive and isolating after a positive Rapid Antigen Test are eligible for $750 payments from today.
Previously, only those who tested positive using a PCR test had been eligible.
Workers testing positive eligible for payments
The weekly payment of $750 is available to employees who miss more than 20 hours of work in a week because:
- they have tested positive and are isolating;
- are a close contact and are isolating; or
- are caring for someone in their household with COVID-19.
To be eligible, people will have to register their positive RAT result with a state health authority first.
From 18 January, the payments will switch to a tiered system.
People who have lost, or expect to lose, 20 or more hours of work can continue to access $750 for the seven-day isolation period.
Additionally, those who expect to lose between one day and 19 hours of work can access $450.
Currently, the government does not consider work interactions as “close contacts”.
Instead, the definition of close contacts only include those who:
- live in the same household as someone who tests positive; or
- spend 4 hours or longer with someone in a home, health or aged care environment.
That is why authorities are encouraging people to work from home for the next few weeks if possible.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus described the “close contact” definition as “ridiculous, dangerous and unfair”.
“You can work with someone for 8 hours and still not be defined as a close contact,” Ms McManus tweeted.
How to access payments
People can claim the payments online through myGov and Centrelink Online, or by calling 180 22 66.
Workers can also visit the Services Australia Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment website.
In order to access the payments, people need to commence the claim within 14 days of the beginning of their isolation period.
Those who have more than $10,000 in cash will not be eligible for the payments.
How to isolate
Finally, if you do have any symptoms, please do not go to your workplace – isolate at home immediately.
Do not attend work or school, visit public areas, or travel on public transport, in taxis or ride-share services.
Ask family and friends to pick up supplies and make sure all deliveries are left outside your door.
If you have an appointment you cannot miss – such as a visit to a doctor, family violence service or police – you must tell them that you have COVID-19.
If you are experiencing symptoms, make sure you rest, drink plenty of fluids and take paracetamol to manage fever.
Stay in regular contact with family and friends to let them know how you are going – and if you experience trouble breathing, call an ambulance.