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Disability support workers have been "dangerously overlooked" in the pandemic response and should be paid an extra hourly rate for looking after clients infected with, or suspected of having, COVID-19, unions say.

The Fair Work Commission this morning heard an application from the Australian Service Union, Health Services Union and United Workers Union asking for an extra $4.94 an hour for carers with clients who had contracted COVID-19 or were waiting for test results.

The unions cited a commissioned report conducted by the University of NSW (UNSW) which surveyed more than 2300 disability workers. The report found workers were anxious about their safety, facing additional workload caring for vulnerable clients, and losing shifts during the pandemic.