News & Views

22nd July 2021

COVID-19 Disaster Payment

A support payment for Victorian workers adversely affected by a state public health order. This is a lump sum payment to help workers unable to earn income due to a COVID-19 lockdown, hotspot or period of restricted movement.

Who can get it

To get the payment, workers need to meet the general eligibility rules and any rules for the COVID-19 health order that affected them in Victoria.

If they are a member of a couple, they can both claim this payment. They will need to make separate claims.

Workers can get this payment even if they are eligible on only one day of a recognised COVID-19 period of restricted movement, lockdown or hotspot.

General eligibility rules

Workers need to meet all the eligibility rules to get the payment.

For workers to get the payment they must meet all of the following:

  • they are an Australian resident or hold a visa that gives them the right to work in Australia
  • 17 years or older
  • they are not getting any income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay
  • they are not getting the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, a state or territory pandemic payment or a state small business payment for the same period
  • they have lost income and don’t have any appropriate paid leave entitlements
  • the liquid assets rule for their event.

A hotspot is an area of COVID-19 local transmission declared by the Chief Medical Officer.

Workers will also need to meet any rules for the COVID-19 health order that affected them in Victoria. These rules depend on where they live, work or visited, and the date they were affected.

Victoria eligibility rules

If workers live or work in Victoria, they need to meet some specific eligibility rules to get the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. They will also need to meet all the general rules.

Workers may get this payment if they lost income or work due to COVID-19 and meet all the eligibility rules. These are the general eligibility rules as well as any rules for the recognised event in Victoria that affected them.

Workers must also meet the following rules to be eligible for the recognised Victoria COVID-19 event in July 2021:

  • they live in, work from or have visited a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspot that is subject to a state restricted movement order or they live in or work from other areas of Victoria
  • they were unable to earn their usual income of 8 hours or more or a full day’s work because they were in the COVID-19 hotspot and are subject to restricted movement or they live or work from other areas of Victoria.

Recognised events are COVID-19 lockdowns, hotspots or periods of restricted movement.

Lockdown is a period of restricted movement when people must stay at home and can only leave for approved reasons.

Recognised Victoria COVID-19 events

The recognised Victoria COVID-19 events are:

How much employees can get

If employees are eligible, they will get $375 for each relevant period if they lost either:

  • between 8 and less than 20 hours of work per week
  • a full day of their usual work hours per week.

If workers lost 20 hours or more of work per week, they will get $600 for each relevant period, if they are eligible.

A full day of workers usual work is what they were scheduled to work but could not because of a restricted movement order in Victoria. This includes not being able to attend a full time, part time or casual shift of less than 8 hours.

Employers can check the key eligibility dates for who can get it.

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a taxable payment. This means they will need to include it in their income tax return.

How to claim

Australian residents must claim online.

To claim online, workers need a myGov account linked to a Centrelink online account. If they don’t have a myGov account, they can create one.

For further information please visit the Services Australia website at COVID-19 Disaster Payment - Services Australia

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment – Victoria

Support for Victorian workers if they can't go to work and earn an income because they must self-isolate or quarantine, or are caring for someone with COVID-19.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is a lump sum payment to help workers during the 14 days they will need to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone.

Who can get it

Workers need to meet eligibility requirements to get the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment in Victoria.

Workers may be eligible if the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services had told them to self-isolate or quarantine. They need to have told workers to self-isolate or quarantine for one of the following reasons:

  • they have coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • they have been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, including being at a Tier 1 exposure site
  • they care for a child, 16 years or younger, who has COVID-19
  • they care for a child, 16 years or younger, who’s been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, including being at a Tier 1 exposure site.

Workers may also be eligible if they are caring for someone who has COVID-19.

Workers must also meet all of the following:

  • they are at least 17 years old
  • they are an Australian resident or hold a visa that gives them the right to work in Australia
  • they are unable to go to work and earn an income
  • they are in quarantine period or caring is on or after 5 July 2020
  • they have no appropriate leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or leave to care for another person.

If workers are a member of a couple, they can both claim this payment. They must complete separate claims.

Who can’t get it

Not everyone who lives in Victoria can get the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

Workers need to meet the eligibility rules.

Workers can’t get this payment if they need to stay home just because of the restrictions and therefore can’t work or earn income.

Workers won’t be eligible if, during the 14 day isolation, quarantine or caring period they get any of the following:

  • any income, earnings or salary from paid work
  • any income support payments, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Paid Parental Leave or Dad and Partner Pay
  • JobKeeper Payment
  • the Victorian Coronavirus (COVID-19) Worker Support Payment.

How much employees can get

If workers are eligible they will receive $1,500 for each 14 day period they self-isolate, quarantine or care for a person who has COVID-19.

How to claim

Workers can claim the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment - Victoria over the phone through Services Australia.

It’s the workers responsibility to decide to claim for this payment based on their personal circumstances.

Workers must make a new claim for each 14 day period.

To claim, either:

For further information please visit the Services Australia website at Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment - Services Australia

Additional information for employers in regards to the COVID-19 Disaster Payment– Victoria

The taking of paid leave is considered to be earning an income for the purposes of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment eligibility rules.   

It is possible to be receiving paid leave whilst receiving the COVID-19 Disaster Payment however, depending on the amount being paid it may impact upon the employees ongoing eligibility to continue to receive the COVID-19 Disaster Payment for future relevant periods.

Examples:

  • A full time employee who is currently stood down (lost 38 hours of work) may still receive up to 18 hours of annual leave or long service leave before it might affect their $600 payment. This is because the employee would still be deemed under the eligibility rules to have lost 20 hours or more of work as a result of COVID-19 restrictions on movement with the remaining 18 hours of annual leave considered to be the employee earning their usual income under the eligibility rules. If the employee had however, been paid 19 hours of annual leave then in the following relevant period they may no longer be eligible for the $500/$600 COVID-19 Disaster Payment (instead only eligible for the $375 payment) as the 19 hours of annual leave would be considered under the eligibility rules to be the earning of an income.   
  • A full time employee who is currently working on reduced hours, working three days a week (22 hours) would be eligible under the COVID-19 Disaster Payment in Victoria to currently receive $375 because they have lost between 8 and less than 20 hours of work per week in lost income. This employee could still receive 8 hours of annual leave by way of a top up. Service Australia would consider the employee to have lost 8 hour of their usual income made up of 22 hours of work and 8 hours of annual leave, leaving 8 hour of reduced earnings making them still eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, having lost between 8 and less than 20 hours of work per week.

Note:  Services Australia does not consider the paying out (rather than taking) of annual leave or other types of leave to be “earning an income” meaning if it is possible under the relevant employees award or enterprise agreement to be paid out for their leave they may be able to do so and then be on unpaid leave for the days that they would have taken as annual leave without it having the same impact on eligibility (note this may however have different tax implications).

For further information please contact your Workplace Relations Team at workplace.relations@neca.asn.au