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ACTU pushes for casual workers to receive paid self-isolation leave as coronavirus fears grow

3AW Mornings

Australia’s largest union is calling for support for casual workers who have to self-isolate over COVID-19 coronavirus fears.

Casual workers make up almost a quarter of the workforce, but aren’t entitled to paid sick leave.

Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary (ACTU) Sally McManus said if plans aren’t put into place to ensure casual workers can afford to take time off the virus will spread rapidly.

“We’ve got to have an emergency response that deals with the fact we’ve got so many people that don’t have paid leave,” she told 3AW’s Tony Jones, filling in for Neil Mitchell.

“It’s not just a matter of justice for them, it’s about public health response as well because so many casual workers are in hospitality, or retail, or aged care, or health, for that matter.”

Ms McManus called for a stimulus package which allows casual workers and the self-employed to stay afloat if they have to take time off.

“If you stop them from getting any income at all that’s just going to affect everyone in terms of further slowing the economy,” she said.

“Plenty of other countries are facing the same problem and in Europe they’re doing the same thing, they’re saying ‘look, everyone needs to get leave if they have to self-quarantine’.”

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Image: Dowell / Getty

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