In yet ANOTHER press conference, the PM has announced more updates on the government’s response to coronavirus, including the coverage of childcare, and changes in awards for hospo workers.
Scott Morrison has just announced that all working parents will have access to free childcare so that they can continue to work during the coronavirus pandemic. He literally said that all jobs in the economy are “essential”, which kinda sucks if you were hoping you’d be able to have your work shutdown for the sake of safety during the pandemic.
“If you have a job in this economy then that is an essential job,” he said. “It is important that all of those parents who have children, that they get access to childcare and those facilities will be there for them.”
Payments will be made to the #childcare centres. So if a centre remains open it receives payments even if there are no attendees? Money for Mates again. #LNP #ScottyFromHillsong Peter Dutton will do well. #auspol. #COVID19Aus
— 🦠🔥 Self quarantined Comrade Judythe 🙁👣 (@muso1947) April 2, 2020
Essentially how this works is that payments will be made to childcare centres, so that they can afford to remain open for parents. The only requirements of the childcare centre are that they remain open, provide care for parents whose children need it, and that they make an effort to get parents that have dropped off, to send their kids back to childcare (presumably to get those parents back to work). The childcare centre must also have less than $1 billion in revenue, and the government would waive the gap free for parents who have been paying for childcare since March 23.
Listened to the latest media conference in its entirety, but still confused about #childcare details. They referred continually to families who get “priority”, so does this mean centres have a cap on how many families they can claim extra for? Which families will miss out?
— Aislin Kriukelis (@AislinKriukelis) April 2, 2020
The Education Minister Dan Tehan said that the new package won’t be means tested, and will be ongoing for the duration of the pandemic. It’s good news for emergency workers and essential workers like doctors and nurses, but it’s also kinda confusing – weren’t we meant to be keeping kids at home?!
@ScottMorrisonMP says #childcare to be “free for parents still working” – does this include parents keeping kids at home? (Or do we have to keep paying or risk losing our spot?) Do we only get it free if kids actually attend?
As usual, clear as mud.
— Sarah Ireland (@sarahjireland1) April 2, 2020
There’s A Whole Bunch Of Changes To Leave Related To The Coronavirus Pandemic
The Gov has also just announced “30 years” worth of Industrial Relations reform change. Hospitality, retail and clerk awards are being changed to allow working from home, and pandemic leave.
They’re only temporary changes, but some of them would defo be super relevant (though they came way too late).
Wow. The Aus. government is also introducing two weeks of unpaid “pandemic leave” and allowing employees to double the duration of their usual annual leave at half pay. Big stuff.
— Anna Watanabe (@Anna_Watanabe) April 2, 2020
Basically, anyone that’s been told to isolate either by the government or through medical advice now has access to two weeks unpaid pandemic leave, so your work can’t force you to come in if you are sick, or have to self-isolate. It covers casuals, part-timers and full-timers which is really great, especially since there were heaps of issues earlier about people who were told to self-isolate that weren’t able to actually do that without sacrificing their jobs.
Some businesses can now also offer their workers twice their annual leave at half the regular rate of pay, which they would have to ask their staff to take, rather than just directing people to take leave.
These are all pretty good changes, bu the thing is, so many people have lost their jobs already (particularly in retail), and for those people these changes may have come too late.