The federal government has announced changes to its pandemic relief payment in order to reflect changing testing, isolation and close contact regulations across the country.
While a $750 payment has been available for people who have missed more than 20 hours of work because they have had to isolate after testing positive, been caring for someone with COVID-19, or is a close contact, the changes will see the amount scale depending on how much work is lost over a seven-day period.
This change will come into effect on January 18.
From next Monday, January 10, People who test positive for the virus via a rapid antigen test (RAT) will also now be able to apply for the payment, whereas previously only a PCR result was accepted.
“The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment ensures that eligible workers either diagnosed with COVID-19, identified as a close contact or caring for someone with COVID-19 can access the support they need,” Federal Infrastructure Minister Bridget McKenzie said.
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment will be calculated based on the number of hours of work someone has lost or is expected to lose during a quarantine period of up to seven days.
Anyone who last lost or is set to lose more than 20 hours of work will still be eligible for $750.
For people that have lost at least a day, up to 19 hours, can get $450.
A financial hardship test will also be introduced, with people who have $10,000 or more in available funds unable to claim the payments.
The scheme is being funded by both federal and state governments.
Claims will need to be lodged through Centrelink, with a new online claim system set to be created to help make the process easier.