Note: Applications for the Emergency Fund have now closed. Applications that have been received during the application window, through to midnight on March 31 are now being assessed.
The government has announced changes to its sickness allowance meaning some casual workers who are ill or have to self-isolate will be eligible for the payments quicker than before. Those who can claim this should. But not everyone is eligible; and the payments are means tested.
We’d like to see more for all workers regardless of their health. We particularly want greater flexibility within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) when it comes to funding support worker shifts.
We are working with the government, asking them to act fast. To support our community, we’d like the government to consider a financial package for casual workers in the disability sector in place by the end of March. But to help bridge the gap we have created an emergency fund to help workers who see their incomes drop substantially before then.
That drop may be because a worker has the virus or suspects they’ve caught it. Workers should stay home to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Money should not be a reason they can’t. Equally, a worker may see their income drop because clients don’t book the usual shifts. Again, we want to help. The emergency fund will be discretionary and limited. But it’s something we hope will help at this unprecedented time.
Questions about the Coronavirus Emergency Fund for Workers
What should I do if I suspect I have the coronavirus?
Please stop working with all clients and contact us. We’ll work with you to make changes to your work arrangements.. If advised by health officials, self-isolate. Please try to get tested and tell us the result. We’ll keep a record of all of this and the information will help when we distribute money from the emergency fund.
Am I eligible to claim?
Anyone who worked regularly for Hireup in the six months from September 16th 2019 to March 15th, including the two weeks from March 2nd to March 15th 2020, can claim assistance. That does not necessarily mean all get it (see below) but it does guarantee all will be considered
How much will I get?
We don’t know because we don’t yet know how many people will claim. Not knowing the volume of claims means we can’t commit to how much support we’ll be able to give. When we know the volume of eligible claims in early April we’ll look at each case individually. We’ll also look at your average fortnightly earnings with Hireup in the six months to March 15th and work out a fair assistance payment as a proportion of those.
What’s the total value of the fund?
Right now we are working to finalise the amount that Hireup can afford without risking the long-term sustainability of the business. We do know that this will be substantial and we promise to distribute the total value of money that we’re committing to that fund.
When will the money be paid?
What if my income drops after March 31st?
This fund has been set up to assist people who see a substantial drop in income between March 16th and March 29th. We hope and expect that, by then, the government will have announced its own assistance to help casual workers in the disability sector.
How do I claim?
Please contact us on 02 91135933 or firstname.lastname@example.org Ideally contact us as soon as you know that you're not doing as many shifts as usual, and let us know why. The deadline for submitting a claim is midnight on March 31st.
How much should I claim?
You will not claim a specific amount. We will look at each case and make an assessment based on your average fortnightly income in the six months to March 15th, the fall in income you’ve experienced in the two weeks March 16th to March 29th, the individual reason for the drop in income and the overall number of claims we get. Ultimately, these will be goodwill payments, each at Hireup’s discretion. We are trying to do the right thing but we can make no hard and fast promises at this stage.
What about personal protective equipment (PPE)?
We know some people would feel happier on shifts with gloves, hand sanitiser and face masks etc. Those, we know, are difficult to get at the moment and we’re unable to source any independently. We’re asking the government to prioritise supplies for those working in our sector. Meanwhile, talk to your clients about whether they can provide any. Or, if you can find some to buy locally, do so. Email us scans of the receipts and we will reimburse any reasonable costs, starting from 16/02/2020 and for the foreseeable future.
Find out more about Hireup's COVID-19 Response.