Some sectors of the aged care workforce could miss out on a top-up payment from the Federal Government, claims a health sector union.
Some sectors of the aged care workforce could miss out on a top-up payment from the Federal Government, claims a health sector union.

Flaw in payments plan could cost hundreds of health care workers

A FLAW in an agreement to provide top up payments to health care workers during the COVID-19 panic will mean hundreds miss out on the extra money, a union says.

The Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said aged care workers in Northern NSW would miss out on Federal Government’s Aged Care Retention Payment because of a glitch in the plan.

Mr Hayes said the Aged Care Retention Payment would provide an extra $800 to aged care workers every three months to help the sector stay adequately staffed through the COVID-19 crisis.

“The retention payment is a great initiative, but there’s one big problem with the way it is being implemented,” Mr Hayes said.

“The payment is only available to nurses, personal care workers, allied health professionals. That means cleaners, kitchen staff, laundry staff and other workers in the sector are all missing out.”

North Coast aged care workers today called on Member for Page Kevin Hogan MP to ensure the program was expanded to include all workers in the sector.

Mr Hayes said every aged care worker plays a part in caring and supporting older Australians.

“Right now every aged care worker is on the frontline, playing a critical role in keeping the most vulnerable safe.

“Every aged care worker deserves to be recognised – from the administration workers testing the temperatures of people entering facilities to the kitchen staff ensuring that residents are kept nourished.

“Given the critical importance of hygiene control, for example, it’s critical that aged care facilities have access to the right number of cleaners.

“It doesn’t make sense that the people who are most responsible for infection control are not eligible for the retention payment.”

Mr Hayes said the aged care sector was already experiencing understaffing and workload pressures prior to the COVID-19 crisis due to years of underfunding.

“I know there are many in the sector who are fearful of what might play out in the next few months, and losing disenfranchised workers could tip things over.

“The message to every aged care worker should be one of thanks and gratitude for the incredible work they are doing.

That’s why the Federal Government must ensure every aged care worker is paid the retention bonus.”



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