Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Financial support update: $5,000 MERT hardship payment & Covid Disaster Payment leave eligibility

Peter Moss - Tuesday, July 20, 2021

ETU construction and lift sector members who are stood down and belong to redundancy trust MERT are eligible to apply for a $5,000 hardship payment that should arrive within days.


The ETU can now confirm, based on official NSW Government advice, that members stood down during the construction lockdown are eligible for Covid Disaster Payment, even when taking annual and four other categories of leave.


This ETU Briefing updates the financial support information provided to members on 17 July. 


You can view the 17 July ETU Briefing here.


MERT $5,000 hardship payment 


MERT has increased the hardship payment to eligible ETU members from $2,000 to $5,000.


This $5,000 is available to ETU members who are stood down due to the construction shutdown and who are MERT members.


A second $5,000 MERT hardship payment will become available five weeks later, if needed.


The current wait time for the hardship payment is approximately three days from application, due to high demand.


The ETU is monitoring wait times. We will ask MERT to ensure enough staff are on hand to maintain reasonable wait times.


You can contact MERT to apply for the $5,000 hardship payment at www.mert.com.au or on 1800 023 692.


Eligibility for Covid Disaster Payment while on leave


On 18 July I wrote to the NSW Treasury COVID-19 Policy Coordination unit seeking clarification on eligibility for Covid Disaster Payment while on leave.


Today the Treasury unit responded with information that answers questions being asked by many ETU members and their families.


Covid Disaster Payment will be denied to applicants who have ‘appropriate leave entitlements’


This includes Special Pandemic Leave and employer-providedspecial COVID leave, which might be paid in the public sector and by some other employers.


However there are five categories of leave which are excluded from ‘appropriate leave entitlements:


• Annual leave
• Unpaid leave
• Paid sick and carer’s leave
• Long service leave
• Compassionate leave when your employer has stood you down without pay.


ETU members who have or are taking any of these five categories of leave should be eligible to apply and receive Covid Disaster Payment, if they are stood down during the construction shutdown.


Read full details here.


ETU support and information


All ETU NSW & ACT officials and staff are working to support members throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.


I am meeting daily with industry stakeholders and government. We are developing a detailed plan that can re-open the Sydney construction industry for members to work safely as soon as possible.


We are also actively lobbying the Federal and State Governments for increased financial support for ETU members and their families.


For information and support, please contact your ETU organiser at the contacts below.


Proud to be union


Allen Hicks

Secretary, ETU NSW & ACT


PS Here are your ETU organiser contacts


ETU construction organisers


Fred Barbin fredb@etunsw.com.au 0437 031 840


Stewart Edward stewarte@etunsw.com.au 0419 210 442


Antony Stegic antonyc@etunsw.com.au 0414 877 943


Nick Bligh nickb@etunsw.com.au 0475 284 234


Lawrie Duff lawrenced@etunsw.com.au 0400 749 008


ETU lift industry organiser


Steve Bankes steveb@etunsw.com.au 0414 877 553