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Paid pandemic leave a step in the right direction but needs to go further for all Tasmanians

Tasmanian Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson today welcomes the announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that paid pandemic leave will be extended to Tasmania but says that it needs broader eligibility criteria. He today calls for all Tasmanian workers to be eligible for the payment.

Senator Whish-Wilson first called for Premier Gutwein to raise with the PM the extension of paid pandemic leave for the 59 000 Tasmanians without leave entitlements on August 6th.

"Whilst it is good news that the PM has listened and held up his end of the bargain with the Premier, the announced leave package falls short of protecting the most vulnerable in our community. 

"Under this new federal scheme if an individual is instructed by a health official to stay home from work they are only eligible if they have used up their leave entitlements, including any special paid pandemic leave.

"The Greens currently have a pandemic leave bill before the Australian Senate that ensures every worker gets the payment regardless of whether they have leave or not.

"If you do have leave entitlements, you shouldn't have to wait until those are exhausted before becoming eligible.

"We know that workplace transmissions were the main driver of the Victorian outbreak so it's critical that we get this right.

"Tasmania has the highest percentage of people with no leave entitlements, making us particularly vulnerable to COVID.

"If people are sick and need to stay home, we need to be doing everything we can to make that happen and stop the spread.

"We don't want to create more anxiety by giving people the help they need only once they've hit a critical point."

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