INDEPENDENT NEWS

Support Grows For Workers To Be Paid 100% Through COVID Crisis

Published: Wed 3 Mar 2021 12:01 PM
E tū, the biggest private sector union in Aotearoa New Zealand, says that workers should not lose out on pay when they are required to self-isolate, or otherwise miss work, because of COVID-19.
E tū has been calling for workers’ wages to lead the COVID-19 recovery, with no workers left out of pocket, throughout the pandemic. In a survey sent to all E tū members this week, 94% of respondents agreed that workers should be paid 100% for any time off due to COVID-19 testing, isolation, or Alert Level changes.
The survey also found that only 22% of respondents who had to miss work due to COVID-19 had been properly paid in full, with most others either losing pay or having to use their leave.
Other organisations are joining the call for 100%, even including the National Party, who are now calling for the Government to directly pay workers 100% of their wages when they have to self-isolate.
An E tū member, who prefers to remain anonymous, says she is still waiting to find out if she’ll be paid for a seven-day standdown period during the last lockdown when she was ill and awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.
“This could have been dealt with two weeks ago when I first emailed my employer – I want to know if I’m covered under the Government’s COVID-19 support schemes or our collective agreement.”
She says she was also asked to return to work after she returned a negative COVID-19 test result, even though she still wasn’t well.
E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says workers need to feel confident that they will not be penalised financially should they need to stay home to keep themselves and others safe from the virus.
“The most important thing New Zealanders can do to support one another during this time is to ensure that they take all measures possible to protect themselves and others – including taking time off work to self-isolate if that’s required.
“There is a range of financial support available to both businesses and workers, but the Government needs to make sure full-time workers aren’t shouldering the financial burden of not being able to go to work.
“That means workers getting 100% of what they would usually be paid, and not having to use any of their leave.”
Workplaces also need to make sure employees know what assistance they are eligible to receive, she says.
Annie says: “We would urge the Government to go the extra mile here so those who cannot work due to COVID-19 aren’t left out of pocket and can still afford to pay their bills on the support payments available.
“Workers’ wages need to be at the forefront of our recovery, not only in Rebuilding Better after the pandemic, but as we join together in doing our best to keep our fellow Kiwis safe.”

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