The current health situation around Covid-19 is causing uncertainty for many library employees, as councils and library corporations move to significantly limit or shut down services.
Given the risk of exposure when working with the public, this is a sensible move to protect staff and residents. However, in the event of a closure employers need to ensure that all staff, including casual staff, continue to be paid and can make ends meet.
The ASU welcomes decisions by Ballarat City Council and City of Melbourne to continue paying all staff, casual and permanent, during library closures. Moves by Moonee Valley City Council and Maribyrnong City Council to make every effort to redeploy all staff, including casuals, show a willingness to support their staff through this difficult time.
We call on all other Councils and Library Corporations to provide their staff with certainty and adopt similar protocols, including continuing regular pay even if working from home arrangements or other duties are not available.
Libraries are a community service that do not operate to generate income. Standing staff down without pay or forcing staff to take their own leave, is an unnecessary action that would create further hardship at an already difficult time.
The ASU is also calling for two weeks paid special leave for all employees that are forced to self-isolate due to Covid-19.