Tasmania's ten public sector unions have united in a push to secure additional leave entitlements for state service employees during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unions including the Community and Public Sector Union, the Health and Community Services Union and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation are calling on the state government to up special leave entitlements to 20 days.
Currently, most public sector workers in Tasmania are entitled to three days' special leave, while some long-term employees are entitled to five days.
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People who test positive for coronavirus are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
CPSU Tasmania assistant secretary Thirza White said increasing the amount of leave available to employees would enable them to make sensible decisions when it came to their health, particularly in the case of casual workers, who may be confronted with a choice between staying at home when unwell and getting paid.
"It might be that you can access [the leave] to ensure that you can stay home with your kids and follow [the government's] directions," Ms White said.
"Or it might be that you're a casual in the hospital and you're not feeling great.
"The direction's really clear about staying home but if you stay home you don't get paid."
It's understood the government is moving to amend the State Service Regulations to increase special leave.
Coronavirus: All the latest updates on COVID-19 for Tasmania
But HACSU Tasmania assistant secretary Robbie Moore said unions would prefer an industrial agreement, due to the fact that amendments to regulations could theoretically be rescinded by the parliament in the future.
"We would have preferred [an] ... agreement because then it's there [and] can't be challenged at any point or anything like that," he said.
In State Parliament recently, Premier Peter Gutwein addressed the issue of special leave for public sector workers, signalling the government's intention to increase entitlements.
"It is only fair and reasonable that we do that," he said.
Mr Moore, however, believes there is no time to waste.
"We can't hold off on this," he said.
"This is getting serious, where the government's not even protecting its own workforce."
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