ATTENTION: DVP Workers COVID-19

Together with the ACTU the AMIEU is arguing for paid pandemic leave for all workers – at 100% of their wages, whenever they are tested or have to isolate. This is essential in stopping the spread of the virus. As this has not been won yet this provides current information.

Quarantine

The Department of Health usually deems all workers in abattoirs to have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus disease once the cluster starts.  This means that all workers, even people who feel well and may have been tested earlier and got a negative result, have to be tested and stay in quarantine.

This is because the infection can take different times to develop from the contact. This is called ‘seroconversion’.  It could happen somewhere between one and twelve days for different people.

When you are in quarantine you cannot go out to the shops or other places except the doctor or hospital.  DHHS advise that you should ask your friends or family to get your necessities; or have your supermarket orders delivered to your front door. If you have difficulties getting food or necessities, you may call 1800 675 398 for support.

If you develop medical emergencies such as difficulty breathing you should call 000 and request an ambulance and tell them that you may have coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Pay

A payment of $300 will be available to anybody who has taken a test and then needs to isolate, if that person is in work, but does not have sick leave to fall back on (i.e. a lot of casual workers).

You will have to provide a pay slip or a statutory declaration to prove that and this will be handled through Victoria's coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.

Permanent employees (daily hire) who are diagnosed as negative, currently, are most often paid with their accrued Leave.

If you do not have the leave to rely on, the Victorian Government will provide $1500 support payment if you are still in quarantine after the tests come back. In order to get this you can contact the DHHS here.

Workers who have been diagnosed as positive to Coronavirus, COVID-19

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and were identified by DHHS as close contact with the cluster at Diamond Valley Pork, you are entitled to lodge a claim for WorkCover.

A worker is entitled to WorkCover compensation if they suffer a disease due to the nature of their employment. Ordinarily the worker needs to prove that work was a significant contributing factor in catching the disease.

We understand that the identified cluster COVID-19 at DVP would give rise to a significantly greater risk of catching the disease. One difference from this would be if you were also part of another cluster, such as a person who works at DVP and lives in the Flemington or North Melbourne high rise housing – this could be a significant complicating factor.
WorkCover entitlements

With WorkCover you would be entitled to weekly payments while you have to be isolated because of the infection and ongoing if you are unfit for work. WorkCover also pays all reasonable medical costs related to COVID-19.

Weekly payments would be 95% of your average pay, before you got the disease, for up to 13 weeks. If you are still unfit for work after 13 weeks the pay would go down to 80% of your Pre-Injury Average Weekly Payments.

Making a Claim

You need to fill in a Victorian WorkCover Authority Worker's Injury Claim Form which can be got from a Post Office or from the WorkSafe website.

You also need a Certificate of Capacity (for TAC or WorkSafe) for the first two weeks that you must be in isolation, with or without symptoms. After the first two weeks you need ongoing certificates if you have not been cleared to return to work on full time and full duties.

These forms (claim form and certificate of capacity) need to be lodged with your employer or WorkSafe. This can be in the form of email attachments, where it is not possible or is impractical to provide the original document.

More Information

You can contact the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 from 7.30AM to 6.30PM Monday to Friday.

The Meat Workers Union (AMIEU) is a source of information about WorkCover on the union website or call Jarrod Jones, your Organiser on 0417 593 410