As Victorians bunker down for the strongest restrictions seen yet during the pandemic, it’s reassuring to see governments stepping up to support employees as much as they can.
With things moving so fast, here are four government supports that are now available for staff and volunteers at Victorian NFPs that you – or they – might not know are available to get through this tough period.
1. $1500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment
This week saw the announcement by the federal government of a new pandemic leave disaster payment of $1,500 a fortnight for workers with no sick leave who need to self-isolate or quarantine.
The payment is currently only accessible by workers in Victoria, but other states and territories will be able to access it if they also enter a state of disaster due to the pandemic.
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment of $1,500 a fortnight is for workers who are casual (ie: not accruing sick/personal leave) or those who have run out of sick leave who need to self-isolate or quarantine at home because they are either diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) or are a close contact of a confirmed case (or if they are caring for a child under 16 that needs to self-isolate or quarantine at home).
The payment has been introduced to encourage people not to break isolation requirements and alleviate the financial pressure your staff may be facing if they need to stay home — helping to prevent community transmission.
The payment is one-off to cover a 14-day period, but workers can access the payment multiple times if they are required to self-isolate on more than one occasion.
- You’re at least 17 years old
- You live in Victoria
- You have no income from paid work, including sick leave entitlements.
In addition the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services must also have told you to self-isolate or quarantine. They must have done this because of any of the following reasons:
- You have coronavirus (COVID-19)
- You’ve been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19
- You care for a child, 16 years and under, who has COVID-19
- You care for a child, 16 years and under, who’s been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
You can’t get this payment if you already get:
- An income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Paid Parental Leave or Dad and Partner Pay
- JobKeeper payment
- The Victorian Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support Payment
Workers include those who are permanent, casual, part-time, fixed term, and self-employed and don’t need to be a citizen or permanent resident to be eligible.
How to apply
From from 8:00am Wednesday 5 August, eligible workers can call 180-22-66 and apply for the payments over the phone, during these hours:
- 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday to Friday
- 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Saturday and Sunday.
Or Call us on 131 202 to talk to them in languages other than English.
They’ll need to do a 100-point ID check as part of the process.
2. $300 Coronavirus Test Isolation Payment
The Test Isolation Payment is an additional $300 payment from the Victorian Government designed to financially support Victorian workers, including guardians or carers, who are awaiting their coronavirus test results.
It is designed to help to ensure that workers are able to isolate immediately after any COVID-9 test and avoid potential transmission of the virus through workplaces.
To be eligible, the employee must:
- Be 17 years and over
- Live in Victoria
- Have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) or be the guardian or carer of someone who has been tested
- Be likely to have worked during the self-isolation period and unable to work due to:
- a requirement to self-isolate after the test
- a requirement to stay in isolation to care for someone who is required to self-isolate
- Not receive income or salary during self-isolation
- Have exhausted sick and/or carers leave entitlements, including special pandemic leave, or have no entitlement to such leave
- Not be receiving Australian Government income support such as the Jobseeker payment, or be an employee subject to the JobKeeper payment
How to Apply
Click here to apply now for the $300 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment via the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.
Can your staff or volunteers receive both the $300 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment and the $1500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment?
Yes! They can receive both payments if they meet the eligibility requirements for both payments.
For more information on the Coronavirus Test Isolation Payment, please see the DHHS website here.
3. COVID-19 Medicare subsidised counselling
If any staff or volunteers in your organisation are suffering mental health impacts from the pandemic and/or the lockdown, the Australian Government is providing 10 additional Medicare subsidised psychological therapy sessions for anyone subjected to further restrictions in areas impacted by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes as a recognition of the mental health impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on individuals and communities in Victoria.
The additional Medicare subsidised sessions will allow people in eligible areas who have used their 10 sessions to continue to receive mental health care from their psychologist, psychiatrist, GP or other eligible allied health worker.
Workers will be required to have a Mental Health Treatment Plan and a review with their GP to access the additional sessions. This support will commence on Friday 7 August and be available until 31 March 2021.
Read more about looking after your staff and volunteers’ mental health during COVID-19 restrictions or read Minister Hunt’s announcement on the additional COVID-19 Mental Health Report.
4. Emergency accommodation for health and community sector workers
The Victorian Government’s Hotel for Heroes program – or Coronavirus Emergency Accommodation (CEA) program – provides emergency accommodation for a huge variety of frontline health and community sector workers required to quarantine or self-isolate, but are unable to do so in their home.
Eligible frontline workers include:
- Public and private hospital clinical or non-clinical healthcare workers
- Paramedics and patient transport officers
- Frontline workers in hospital laboratories
- Public and private sector residential aged care workforce
- Workers deployed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) in frontline COVID-19 operational roles.
- Workers in primary care settings
- Victoria Police workforce
- Youth Justice workforce
- Metropolitan Fire Brigade officers
- Country Fire Authority Emergency Medical Response officers
- Victoria Corrections workforce
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation workforce
- Frontline workers in supported accommodation for people with a disability
- Community based pharmacy workforce
The Hotels for Heroes program is also available to eligible frontline workers who regularly work in an environment that involves consistent exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) positive patients, who need accommodation on compassionate grounds, or those who cannot safely self-isolate or quarantine at home.
For more details, download the Hotels for Heroes – Guidance and screening form for organisations – 29 July 2020 (Word)