Can I be Paid Sick Leave as a Casual Employee?

Can I be Paid Sick Leave as a Casual Employee?

As the holiday season creeps closer, the opportunities for casual and seasonal work coincidingly increase. However, in the case of illness, workers may feel obligated to still attend work. This can cause health and financial risks for both employees and employers.

To eliminate a worker’s conflict to choose between a day’s pay and their health, the Victorian Government has introduced the Victorian Sick Pay Guarantee. This three-year pilot program is fully funded by the Victorian Government and will provide eligible casual and contract workers with a guarantee they will receive sick pay when they can’t go to work. Workers can claim up to 38 hours a year of sick and carer’s pay, with the payment made at the national minimum wage.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Sick Pay Guarantee you must be at least 15 years of age, not be entitled to any other paid leave, and be physically working an average of at least 7.6 hours per week in an eligible occupation. Whilst only certain occupations are eligible, the entitlement is broad sweeping and includes jobs in industries such as:

  • Food, hospitality, and accommodation;
  • Retail, sales, and supermarkets;
  • Administration, clerical, and call centres;
  • Cleaning and laundry; and
  • Taxi, rideshare and delivery driving.

Additionally, as evidence, an employee must provide a combination of identification documents, and at least one document (such as a recent payslip, or employment contract) that demonstrates the employee’s occupation is an eligible occupation.

Submitting a Claim

Claims for personal leave must be submitted within 60 days of the workers absence from work and are required to be made via the Sick Pay Guarantee Portal. A claim for personal leave must be a minimum of three hours, and the maximum amount an employee can claim over a 12-month period is 38 hours, or the equivalent of five business days. All claims for personal leave will be paid at the national minimum wage as it was on the date the claim was made, which as of 1 July 2023 is $23.23.  

What if my Employer does not Comply?

As the Sick Pay Guarantee is taxpayer funded, a worker’s application will not require the involvement of their employer, nor is the worker required to inform their employer they are making a claim. However, employers may become involved where employees request evidence of their employment, or if the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions contacts the employer to verify such evidence provided by the employee.

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