The RTBU has launched a national campaign to better protect workers who are at significant risk of death or serious illness from COVID-19.
National Secretary Mark Diamond said while progress on an effective vaccine was encouraging, it would be a dangerous mistake for Australians to think that the pandemic had passed.
“During the pandemic, many of us have embraced zoom meetings and invested in a home office. We’ve been able to safe, secure and out of harm’s way, Mark said.
“But for many other workers in sectors like health, aged care, emergency services, retail and transport, however, working from home is not an option.
“And for workers in those sectors who also elderly or have pre-existing health conditions, going to work during an outbreak of COVID-19 could mean putting your life on the line.”
No-one should be left behind
Mark said safety net programs such as JobKeeper, JobSeeker and pandemic leave did not cover the specific needs of COVID-vulnerable workers.
“As we plot a path to the end of the pandemic, it is important that no Australians are left behind or left exposed.
“That means putting in place a COVID Vulnerable Worker Payment to enable workers who are at high-risk risk to voluntarily stay home during a localised outbreak of COVID-19.
“The payment should enable those workers to continue to be paid their full salary by their employer, but it should be funded by the Federal Government.”
Sign the petition!
Mark said to be categorised as a ‘COVID Vulnerable Worker’ and therefore be eligible for the scheme, a worker must fall into one of the categories listed as ‘at risk’ by the Australian Government Department of Health.
Consideration should also be given to extending this to pregnant workers, and workers who have a medical reason for not wearing a mask.
Sign the petition to support COVID-Vulnerable workers at www.covidvulnerableworker.com.au