The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), has welcomed the Federal Government’s reinstatement of $750 COVID leave disaster payments for essential workers through the latest ‘winter wave’ of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Albanese made the decision this morning during a meeting of National Cabinet, following ongoing calls from the ANMF and its members for the emergency payments to be restored to support vulnerable workers.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the reinstatement of disaster payments would allow the most vulnerable workers, without leave entitlements, to follow public orders and isolate if they contract COVID or need to care for others with the virus.
“We commend the Prime Minister Albanese and the Health Minister Mark Butler for listening and acting on our concerns. This is a really sensible decision which will allow casual workers to receive a payment to stay home and recover from Covid – and not spread the virus through the rest of the community if they are forced to go out to work,” Ms Butler said today.
“We are now facing a winter wave of COVID infections, which has already seen a worrying spike in the rates of hospitalisations. And it’s therefore crucial that our Federal, State and Territory Governments work with us to assist our depleted health and aged care workforce – which has been crushed by the impacts of the pandemic.
“Nurses, midwives and care workers need to be supported so they can continue to provide quality healthcare for all Australians when they need it.”
The ANMF said the Prime Minister’s announcement that the PALM scheme would be expanded to include the recruitment of workers from the Pacific in the aged care sector, could provide some assistance in addressing current worker shortages in the sector.