Unions call for special vaccination leave

·2-min read

Aged care and disability support workers would receive four days of paid leave to get vaccinated against coronavirus under a union plan to bolster the rollout.

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking the federal government to provide the special entitlement.

For each of the two doses, workers would be given one day off to receive their vaccine and another to recover from any potential side effects.

The plan would be extended to aged care and disability casuals without other leave entitlements.

The ACTU also wants the government to ensure workers are paid for travel to and from getting vaccinated.

"Workers in aged and disability care are being asked to go without pay for multiple days to get the vaccine and deal with routine side effects," Ms McManus said on Friday.

"This is a huge financial disincentive for low-paid, insecure workers."

Since the rollout kicked off in late February, unions have been telling the federal government support for workers in the sectors was needed.

Ms McManus said other frontline health and high priority workers were provided with vaccination leave.

"The same should apply for aged care and disability support workers," she said.

About 10 per cent of workers in the sector have received both doses through leftover jabs during visits to residents at Commonwealth facilities.

The federal government is working to collect data on how many have sought vaccines from other sources.

The ACTU wants Mr Morrison to revive a commitment to immunise all staff at work.

That plan changed after medical advice the AstraZeneca jab was not recommended for under 40s and there was a shift away from vaccinating residents and staff on the same day.

"The Morrison government has refused to take responsibility at every turn through this pandemic," Ms McManus said.

"We are asking them to do the bare minimum to ensure that workers and vulnerable people in aged and disability care are safe from this virus as soon as possible."

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