“The Government’s new Covid-19 payment allowing workers to isolate at home is a welcome development,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“ACT said last year that the Government should consider something similar. It is important that workers isolate for the whole country, and it is unfair an employer should pay the cost.
“However, this policy is far too late, and proves the extended sick leave provisions were not about Covid-19.
“In fact, the Government cynically used Covid-19 as an excuse to implement an ideological goal, when the real solution was right before them all along.
“Labour argued during the election campaign that the extension of sick leave to ten days was essential so workers could stay home if necessary.
“ACT said at the time that the solution was for the Government to support only those workers who were affected by Covid-19, rather than giving more sick leave to every worker:
‘Only Labour could claim that five days off for 2.7 million people is a solution for a handful of people who need to isolate for 14 days.’
“Now Labour has established a Short-Term Absence Payment. So why not use it, instead of extending sick leave for all workers?
“It makes more sense for the cost to be borne publicly, rather than forcing it on to already-struggling businesses.
“Labour should front up and admit that extending sick leave for all workers was a $1 billion bribe.”