Big losers in $1500 pandemic leave plan
Australians who are forced to isolate because of the coronavirus pandemic could receive a welcome $1500 payment - but only if they're from two specific states.
In early August, the Federal Government rolled out the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment for eligible Victorians, which replaced the Victorian Government's $1500 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support payment.
And this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the scheme had been extended to include Tasmanians who fit the criteria.
But it means that at the moment, residents of the remaining six states and territories are shafted.
So how does the scheme work - and how can you get your hands on it?
PANDEMIC LEAVE DISASTER PAYMENT
The scheme has been created to soften the financial blow for those who cannot work because they need to self-isolate or quarantine at home, or if they are caring for someone who has COVID-19.
WHY CAN'T I GET IT?
In a nutshell, Victoria and Tasmania are the only states which have asked for it - meaning in theory, it could potentially be introduced elsewhere if individual states deem it necessary.
"If other states or territories want to enter into a similar arrangement, then I'll be making that offer to the states and territories if they wish to do that," Mr Morrison told Channel 7 when the Victorian scheme was first unveiled.
However, it's important to note that other states do have their own similar programs in place, with South Australia, Queensland and the ACT offering separate hardship payments worth $1500.
According to the Services Australia website, Victorians can apply for the payment over the phone by calling 180 22 66 between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
It is open to those aged at least 17 who live in Victoria, have no income from paid work, including sick leave entitlements and who have been told to self-isolate or quarantine by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
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They must have issued that order because you either have COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone who has the virus or are caring for a child aged under 16 with coronavirus or a child who has been in close contact with a virus case.
You may also be eligible if you're caring for someone who has COVID-19.
If you are required to isolate on multiple occasions, you could be eligible for more than one payment - but it is not open to anyone who is simply staying home due to stage 4 restrictions.
You also can't get the payment if, during your 14-day isolation period, you already get any income, earnings or salary from paid work, an income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Paid Parental Leave or Dad and Partner Pay, JobKeeper Payment or the Victorian Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support Payment.
Victorians can claim the payment until February 4.
The rules are similar for Tasmanians, with the Prime Minister's office confirming workers are now eligible for the $1500 payment if they cannot work because they need to self-isolate or quarantine after reaching an agreement with the State Government.
The lump sum payment, designed to help workers during their 14-day self-isolation period, applies from August 22, 2020.
"If an individual is instructed by a health official to stay home from work, and has used up all their sick leave entitlements, including any special pandemic leave, they may be eligible to make a claim," the government website states.
"People may also be eligible if they're the parent or guardian of a child aged 16 or under who is a close contact or has tested positive for COVID-19.
"Tasmanians workers are eligible for the payment if they are not receiving income, earnings or salary maintenance from work, receiving the JobKeeper Payment or other forms of Australian Government income support."
To date in Victoria more than $8.8 million has been paid for almost 6000 granted claims since August 6, and Tasmanians are urged to apply by calling the number listed above.
The Tasmanian scheme runs until February 22.
Originally published as Big losers in $1500 pandemic leave plan