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Unions want two days paid vax leave for government workers

Queensland unions have written to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk calling for two days paid vaccination leave for all government employees.

The request comes as reports emerge of an unvaccinated government health worker being a significant factor in the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 sparking the current three-day lockdown in south-east Queensland and Townsville regions.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Michael Clifford said government calls for workers to be vaccinated need to be accompanied by practical support to facilitate access to vaccinations across the state.

“Vaccination of as many people as possible is in the interest of all Queenslanders and in the national interest,” he said.

“We want the government to provide two days paid leave for all government workers and for workers in Government Owned Corporations to access the vaccine and to have time to recover from the effects of the vaccine if necessary.

“This includes casual workers who do not have access to sick leave,” he said.

He said public health information indicated that up to 60 per cent of people who receive the vaccines experienced side effects with as many as 25 per cent having severe side effects that require time off work.

“It is particularly important to ensure employees have time to recover from the side-effects of the vaccine,” he said.

“The additional leave should help to promote the uptake of the vaccine by promoting better confidence in the system.

“This leave should ensure that workers are no worse off financially for getting the vaccine, and will remove a significant barrier to workers accessing the first and second shots necessary to be fully vaccinated,” he said.

“Ultimately, providing leave and encouragement for workers to be vaccinated, particularly in regional areas, will benefit all Queenslanders and will see our state recover even more quickly.”