PSA delegate Bob Renshaw was among the essential workers who presented a petition calling for safer sick leave to Workplace Relations Minister Andrew Little on September 1.
More than 10,000 people signed the Council of Trade Unions petition.
It seeks an increase in paid sick leave from 5 to 10 days, the removal of the six month stand down for sick leave when you start a new job, and for sick leave to be made available for caring for dependents.
Bob and his wife Gay, say adequate sick leave provisions are important for support workers like themselves.
“We have to be particularly careful as we come into contact with so many vulnerable people,” Bob says.
Both have also been affected by cancer, with Bob needing to take time off recently due to skin cancer, while Gay is now on leave without pay while undergoing chemotherapy.
COVID LEAVE EXTENSION
The petition also calls for the Covid-19 leave support scheme to be extended for the next year to cover anyone with Covid-19 symptoms, including those who are waiting to be referred for testing or waiting for results.
“Covid-19 has really focused our minds on the importance of staying home when you are sick,” says CTU President Richard Wagstaff.
“But the current reality of a legal minimum of 5 days sick leave is unrealistic in achieving the goal of people staying away from work if they are unwell.”
A UMR poll released by the CTU found 63% want the Covid-19 leave scheme to expand to cover people with symptoms waiting for test results.
It also found 68% of New Zealanders support increasing paid minimum sick leave.
The petition also calls for the scrapping of the previous Government’s law change that can require a doctor’s certificate after just one day of sick leave.
Safer Sick Leave is one of the CTU’s election priorities.
PSA Pasefika union members have been voicing their support for the Pasefika community during the latest Covid outbreak.