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Aged care cleaner who worked ’50 rooms a day’ awarded payments

An Adelaide cleaner left with a psychiatric injury after she was asked to clean 50 rooms a day at an aged care facility has been awarded ongoing payments.

The woman had been working as a cleaner for 24 years before she started work at Regis Aged Care’s new Kingswood facility, south of the CBD, in early 2017.

When she started the role, the facility had about 12 residents and she was required to work five hours per day, five days each week.

But, over time, the number of residents grew to 63 with the opening of new sections of the centre.

“As the number of residents increased, her hours increased to 7.5 hours per day,” a ruling handed down by the SA Employment Tribunal said.

“This was inadequate for her to handle the workload.

“She had to clean about 50 separate rooms as well as clean the eating area every week and shampoo the carpeted areas every week.”

The woman became upset that she could not properly complete her work and felt guilty that the rooms were not being cleaned to an adequate standard.

When she raised the issue with the manager, she was told money was being put into improving meals and the centre was not prepared to allocate much to her work.

The “final straw” and end of her employment was in March 2018, when a formal letter of allegations was handed to her at work.

By that point she was suffering headaches, stomach pains, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties and insomnia, and was eventually diagnosed with a psychiatric injury.

Deputy president Michael Ardlie last week ruled in the woman’s favour and she will be entitled to income support and medical payments backdated to May 2018.

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