Greens launch petition to expand Sick Pay Guarantee for arts workers

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Greens launch petition to expand Sick Pay Guarantee for arts workers

Credit: Julian Meehan

The Greens have launched a petition to expand the government's Sick Pay Guarantee to include more arts sector workers.

Initially proposed as a scheme to reduce the amount of low-paid casual workers attending work while sick during the pandemic, the state initiative has now expanded to cover over 150,000 Victorians. The government says the Sick Pay Guarantee is still only in stage one of its pilot program.

The Greens are calling for its expansion to include arts sector workers in particular – one of the lowest paid and hardest hit industries throughout the pandemic –  with candidate for Richmond Gabrielle de Vietri leading calls to extend the scheme.

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De Vietri has launched a petition in support of the call, and says without access to sick pay many arts workers will continue to struggle to make ends meet.

“By excluding arts workers from the Sick Pay Guarantee, Labor has turned its back on the arts,” De Vietri said. “Too many people in our arts community already struggle to make ends meet, let alone having to navigate lost income when shit hits the fan.

“The Labor government is putting arts workers in a Catch-22. Stay home when you’re sick but sacrifice your income and ability to pay the bills. Or go to work to survive but potentially spread illness. It’s just not fair.

“The Labor Party is once again overlooking and undervaluing our sector, we must ensure artists and arts workers have fair and equitable access to the same safety nets as casual workers in other industries do.”

De Vietri says arts workers who are currently missing out on the program include casually or self-employed visual artists, producers, musicians, theatre workers, filmmakers, live production professionals and more. Artists and arts workers continue to be vulnerable to loss of work and income due to illness, with high rates of casual employment in the sector.

At present the Sick Pay Guarantee is only available to the following professional categories:

  • Hospitality
  • Food trades or food preparation
  • Supermarkets
  • Retail
  • Sales
  • Aged and disability care
  • Cleaning and laundry
  • Security

The cultural and creative sectors make up 7.4% of the total Victorian economy, generating $34.5 billion annually.

To sign the petition, visit