News & Events

Aged care retention bonus should be expanded

June 10, 2020

The Old Colonists’ Association of Victoria has joined the chorus of providers and worker representatives calling on Federal Government to expand the aged care retention bonus to include laundry, cleaning and catering staff in residential aged care.

The government’s $445 million aged care package included $235 million for a COVID-19 retention bonus to assist residential and home aged care providers to keep staff. Eligible part-time and casual workers will also receive pro rata payments. However, the bonus does not apply to other frontline roles.

“We believe that the bonus should go to all essential aged care staff including laundry, cleaning and hospitality staff,” Phillip Wohlers, CEO, said.

Full-time home aged care workers doing broader roles such as personal care, cleaning, home support and meal preparation, will also receive payments.

While OCAV says that intention of the retention bonus is understood, the division between staff who are all working to the same goals is not clear.

“Residential aged care workers who are cleaning, doing the laundry or catering are doing the same things as others in terms of putting themselves on the frontline to care for people. We should not be valuing one group of people over others,” Mr Wohlers said.

He suggested a clearer definition about an essential or direct care worker should be put in place.

“Every aged care worker deserves to be recognised – from the administration staff testing the temperatures of people entering facilities and screening for the mandatory flu vaccine to the cleaners,” he said.

Mr Wohlers thanked every person working at OCAV’s Liscombe House aged care facility for going out of their way to ensure the older and vulnerable residents are well cared for during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have been based at Liscombe House since Victoria has been in a state of emergency, and their dedication and commitment is extraordinary,” Mr Wohlers said.

“They carry the same risk and responsibility for infection prevention and control and should all receive the same level of support from Government,” he said.


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