Aged Care Workers Get Retention Bonus - But it doesn't go far enough

  • Published June 1, 2020

Courageous HSU members working in aged care were excited to learn that the federal government would be paying a ‘retention bonus’ for t heir work during COVID-19 – only to be disappointed when many learnt that the payment doesn’t apply to them.

On March 20, Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck announced that full-time residential care workers will receive $800 per quarter over the next 6 months, while full-time home care workers will receive $600 per quarter and part-time workers will receive a portion of the payment calculated on a pro rata basis. However, the payment will only be made to workers that are determined to be in ‘direct care’ roles, leaving many – including cleaners, laundry, administration, food services and others – high and dry.

The HSU has been leading the charge in voicing opposition to this deeply unfair and arbitrary divide, lobbying the Government to immediately expand the payment to all aged care professionals regardless of where they work. Despite the government’s blinkered view of aged care, many other workers have contact with aged care residents and the public, and they deserve to be recognised too. “It is deeply unfair that the federal government should seek to divide essential workers in such a way,” said Secretary Gerard Hayes. “Right now, every aged care professional is on the frontline, playing a critical role in keeping the most vulnerable safe.

“Every aged care professional deserves to be recognised – from the administration workers testing the temperatures of people entering facilities, to the cleaners who are working at an incredibly high standard.” “I think it’s very important that everyone working within Aged Care, not just nurses or care staff, should be entitled to the retention payment,” said HSU member Jayne Taylor, who works in Food Services. “We all look after our residents by contributing to their needs in many different ways. There are so many ‘behind the scenes’ things we do to make sure our most vulnerable are well cared for.“This Government decision makes me feel undervalued. We are all a team and we should all be included.”