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Women lose as changes to the Pandemic Disaster Relief Payments come into effect

YWCA Australia is very concerned by cuts to the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment which removes financial protections for people on low incomes, many of whom are women.

The changes have seen the payment stopped for those working less than 8 hours per week and reduced from $750 to $450 for those working less than 19 hours per week.

Anna Paris, General Manager Service Delivery at YWCA Australia said:

“These changes have cut support to those in our community who can least afford it – especially women in casual or part-time work. With community transmission rampant, the risk of contracting COVID is high, yet we’ve removed protections which would provide financial support to workers on low incomes who become ill or a close contact and are unable to work.

“We are very concerned this will negatively impact women in our homelessness programs who are re-entering the workforce, often working reduced hours, as they try to get into the private rental market and out of homelessness.

“Across the country, women are more likely to be in casual and part-time work, they make up 67 per cent of all part-time workers. These cuts will disproportionately affect many of these women and increase their risk of housing insecurity as they’ll have to rely on savings – if they have them – and they could face impossible choices, like do I pay my rent or buy medicine to treat COVID?

“We urge the Government to extend the payments and ensure women on low incomes, many of whom are essential workers, are able to meet their basic needs.”

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