The government has elaborated on the $11 million grant program to help with getting every aged care worker vaccinated.
This week Scott Morrison announced that vaccination would now be a condition of work for staff in aged care, with mid-September set as a loose target for all staff to have at least one dose of a vaccine.
However there was some criticism that the PM's announcement was light on detail.
The ANMF said that the $11 million pledged for workers worked out to "a mere $30.00 allocated for each worker still unvaccinated".
Early on Friday the government released more detail. The 'Residential Aged Care COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Support Grant' will provide for casual aged care workers to be paid under two categories.
- A fee of $80 per staff member, per dose, for going off-site for vaccination; and
- Paid sick leave if unwell after vaccination and the staff member has no other leave entitlements – a day’s paid leave (at a rate of $185).
The government said that payments received for staff to get vaccinated must be paid out to staff in full.
Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt said the new measure will help raise vaccination rates and aid residential care workers who may need to travel to get vaccinated.
"The grants program will also help those workers who do not have leave entitlements to recover from any minor side effects and who may be concerned about losing wages after being vaccinated."
The program will also allow for $500 per residential aged care facility for costs incurred in "facilitating access to vaccination for workers".
“This will cover transport services, arranging groups of workers to be vaccinated and/or any other reasonable expenses that support workers to get vaccinated,” aged care services Minister Richard Colbeck said.
Providers can apply for financial support in any or all of the following three categories:
Category 1: payment for each casual staff member’s off-site vaccination (maximum of 2 doses/payments per casual staff member). This payment is a contribution towards the time casual staff are absent from the facility to receive their COVID-19 vaccination at an off-site vaccination clinic; and/or
Category 2: one day of paid leave for casual staff (not eligible for entitlements) receiving an on or off-site vaccination, who were rostered on for a shift within 24-48 hrs after receiving a vaccination, but suffered side effects from the vaccination and were unable to attend work for this reason; and/or
Category 3: facilitation of either on or off-site vaccinations for all staff (e.g. transport costs or arranging for groups of staff to be vaccinated off-site).
Providers must ensure payments received under categories one and two are provided to casual staff members in full.
Eligible staff members include:
Categories 1, 2 and 3: casual staff for whom the residential aged care facility is their primary place of work in the aged care sector and have been rostered on in the preceding four weeks, unless they were on annual or sick leave.
Category 3: all staff directly employed by the Provider.
Providers are able to apply for multiple residential aged care facilities in one online application form. The online application form will require Providers to indicate, for each residential aged care facility, which categories they require support from and the number of staff and facilities. Providers may claim costs incurred under the categories 1 and 2 between 1 March and 29 October 2021.
The grant round is open until 2.00pm AEST, Friday 29 October 2021.
Providers will also now be able to vaccinate their own workers on-site. The request for tender is open until 30 July and the government has said that more than "25,000 staff will be vaccinated through this program".
All on-site vaccination programs will include Pfizer and providers can also consult with their Primary Health Network and GPs to organise on-site vaccination clinics for workers.
Applications for the Residential Aged Care COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Support Grant can be found here.Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]