Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 May 2022) . . Page.. 1103 ..
they are victims of wage theft. Many of these workers are employed in these industries for a long time. How long should workers need to work in these industries without access to paid sick leave? If you work in hospitality, cleaning, security, should you never be able to access a paid sick day?
I think it is also worth acknowledging the potential benefits that exist for employers of casual staff. We all know that staff turnover within casualised industries is incredibly high. Burnout from being understaffed and overworked is common. I have heard countless stories of it. If workers are given the chance to recover from illness, rather than having to work through it, this may lead to better productivity in the workplace; generally speaking, a happier workplace; and, most importantly, it will certainly reduce workplace transmission.
The Victorian state government has taken the Australian-first step of introducing a trial of sick pay for casuals and contract workers outside of the COVID-19 programs. I genuinely look forward to seeing how this trial goes, and the benefits—hopefully, the benefits—that this has for workers.
I believe that every worker in our city deserves to have access to sick and carer’s pay. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have all seen the impacts on both workers and their employers when this is not the case. No worker should have to choose between their health or a day’s pay, which is why I am calling on the government to investigate this sensible and equitable solution.
MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (3.03): I speak to Mr Pettersson’s motion, but I also move the amendment circulated in my name.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: So you wish to move the amendment now?
MR CAIN: I do so, sir. Thank you.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I would note to members that we are discussing the amendment that has “revised” written on the top of it: “revised 03/05/22”. So you are moving that amendment now?
MR CAIN: That is correct, Mr Deputy Speaker. I move:
Omit part (3) and substitute:
“(3) calls on the ACT Government to continue to materially improve the working conditions of ACT residents;
(4) requests that the Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality consider investigating the impact of the provision of sick and carer’s pay for casual and contract workers who work in industries that do not usually have access to sick and carer’s pay;
(5) requests the Committee to consider investigating;
(a) the current working conditions in the ACT for casual and contract workers;