"Today's announcement by the Victorian Government of a Sick Pay Guarantee for casual employees and self-employed workers is notable for the absence of any retraction of its previous announcement that businesses will most likely need to fund the huge ongoing cost once the two-year trial is over, through a levy. The levy would, in effect, be a tax on employment and would be another deterrent to employers investing in Victoria," Tim Piper, Victorian Head of the peak employer association Ai Group said today.

"The scheme provides a sick pay and carer's pay entitlement to those who are eligible. However, casuals already receive a 25% casual loading in lieu of paid sick leave and carer's leave and, therefore, the scheme will lead to obvious 'double-dipping'.

"The very lengthy list of eligible occupations in the Program Guidelines for 'Phase 1' includes numerous occupations that cannot be considered insecure such as butchers, chefs, pastrycooks, motor vehicle parts interpreters, motor vehicle salespersons, supermarket workers, etc.

"The Government has costed Stage 1 at $245.6 million for a two year period. Presumably Phase 2 will involve an even wider set of eligible occupations and a much larger cost. These huge costs will no doubt require a very substantial levy on Victorian businesses if the Government decides to pass on the costs to businesses at the end of the two year trial, as it appears to be planning to do.

"The scheme is deeply flawed and should be abandoned. The last thing that Victorian businesses need is the prospect of a hefty payroll levy in two years' time to fund this illogical scheme. The looming levy will kill investment in Victoria and put a hand-break on the recovery," Mr Piper said.

Further comment

Tim Piper – 0411 430 301