Some Palliative Care Volunteer Managers have recently expressed concern about returning their volunteers to service if they are not adequately covered by insurance should they become ill with COVID-19.
This problem has not gone unnoticed by Volunteering Australia who are advocating for a solution to this critical issue.
Volunteering Australia has joined with Justice Connect to call on all Australian governments to ‘have the back’ of Australia’s volunteer workforce in the COVID-19 crisis by overcoming the pandemic insurance gap for volunteers.
Together they have published a Joint Policy Statement outlining their recommendations which suggests they are keen to work with the Governments and explore some low cost options:
- Expand existing (State-run) Workers Compensation schemes to cover volunteers for out of pocket COVID-19 related illness and expenses. Some emergency volunteers (country fire volunteers, for example) are covered so there is precedent for this approach.
- Create a Government-backed indemnity or contingent liability fund for COVID-19 payments to volunteers, subject to defined criteria (a cap of $10,000 per volunteer and excluding losses because of wilful disregard of medical directives, for example)
- Develop a longer-term solution such as a volunteer insurance product that includes certain illnesses.
Click here to read their “Joint policy statement: Addressing the pandemic insurance gap for volunteers.”