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Victorian government announces pilot scheme to pay casual workers sick leave

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It’s been a busy year for payroll professionals in Victoria, with the state government introducing landmark, nation-first changes to the payroll landscape. 

In July, the state became the first to introduce criminal penalties for businesses found guilty of ‘wage theft.’ Now in the wake of Victoria’s second COVID-19 lockdown, the state government has announced it’s creating a nation-first scheme that will provide sick and carer’s pay for casual workers. 

How will the scheme work? 

The Secure Work Pilot Scheme’ will provide casual and insecure workers – in highly casualised industries like hospitality and aged care – up to five days’ sick and carer’s pay at the national minimum wage 

The pilot will roll out in two phases over two years, beginning in late 2021 or early 2022. Once underway it will run in selected industries, which will be chosen after a consultation process with workers, industry and unions. Casual and insecure workers in eligible sectors will be invited to pre-register for the scheme. 

The initial two-year pilot will be funded by the Victorian government, at no cost to businesses. However, any future ongoing scheme will be subject to an industry levy – meaning businesses in eligible industries will need to chip in. 

The Victorian government has already committed $5 million for consultation on the design of the pilot, which will work out factors like what documents businesses will need to provide and what protections employees will have. 

What can businesses do to prepare? 

The pilot scheme is still in its early stages of developmentand although little is known about the exact requirements for businesses, it’s recommended that you stay abreast of developments related to the scheme on the Victorian government website. It’s also important to stay up to date with any communications from your payroll software vendor.  

At Sage, we understand the pressure thats on businesses and payroll professionals to stay on top of developing government employment schemeand regulations. Our Australia-based payroll team is committed to working closely with government bodies to stay abreast of any changes to employment regulations or programs, to ensure our clients and their systems are always one step ahead. 

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