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Employers have to pay for swine flu quarantines

Maritime Union says employers will have to pay for swine flu quarantines

Maritime Union of New Zealand media release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday 12 June 2009

The Maritime Union will be asking employers to pay workers sent home due to swine flu quarantines.

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Trevor Hanson says maritime workers are in the front line and are an at risk group for exposure to infectious diseases coming into the country.

"Our members work in busy, large workplaces on the waterfront, in close contact with crews and passengers on vessels arriving from overseas. We also have many seafarer members working on ferries which carry a large number of overseas travellers."

Mr Hanson says if workers are quarantined due to workplace exposure to swine flu, then employers have a responsibility to keep them on the payroll while they are away from work.

He says the Maritime Union is supporting calls from the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union that since quarantine can mean significant costs to workers, these costs should be met by their employer if the exposure is work-related.

Mr Hanson says that the economic effects of even short periods of missed wages for low income workers could be serious.

"We are especially concerned at the effect on casual workers who are at even greater risk of having their livelihoods stripped away."

He says the Maritime Union have also asked that workers exposed to swine flu through their work and quarantined should be assisted by their employers to get household supplies delivered.

ENDS

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