Home | Top Stories | ‘Too much paperwork’: aged care staff see no signs of $800 bonus
The Prime minister promised bonuses of up to $800 for more than 230,000 staff. Picture: Annette Dew/NewsCorp.

‘Too much paperwork’: aged care staff see no signs of $800 bonus

A survey has found the majority of aged care workers have not received Scott Morrison’s $800 workforce bonus.

In January, the prime minister promised two instalments of up to $400 in response to mounting concerns over underpayment, staff shortages and inadequate conditions during COVID-19.

A recent survey of 1,000 aged care workers done by the United Workers Union revealed that as of March, 97 per cent of workers had not been paid.

More than 75 per cent also said they had heard no information about the bonus from their employers.

Applications for the payment opened at the end of February, with providers being required to supply four weeks' worth of hours per each applicable staff member. 

“I don’t think my employer has applied for it yet, apparently it’s too much paperwork,” a Newcastle-based registered nurse told Aged Care Insite.

A care staff worker who had been paid the first round of the bonus said after tax they received $296.

“It’s hardly a bonus when they put it in with your usual pay and you get taxed on it,” said the care worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The government has formally advised providers to pay out their employers after they lodge an application.

Health Services Union president Gerard Hayes said this would be "very unlikely" as many providers in the cash-strapped sector do not have the administrative base or extra funds to spare.

“You may have a percentage of the for-profits who would, but whether they are going to dip into their profit margins to pay something out and recoup it later on is unlikely," he said.

“It won't be in their interest to go through those sort of hurdles,”

According to Hayes the union has seen more aged care staff leave the workforce in March than any other month this year. 

He said people are flocking to retail and hospitality sectors in favour of better pay and stable working conditions.

“We’re seeing more people leaving the aged care workforce every week,” he said.

“$800 for people on $23 dollars an hour is really far less than anything substantial.

“You see where fuel prices are going, and food prices are going, it’s hardly a ‘thanks very much for your service'.”

The union is currently in negotiations with the Fair Work Commission to establish pay rises of 25 per cent for more than 200,000 workers.

Hayes said the final submission will be in towards the end of April, and the fair work commissioner has written to the government to assess whether they would be prepared to fund it.

“We see this very seriously as an election issue, so we’re very keen to see what the opposition’s position is on aged care,” he said. 

“Both the government and the opposition should be very clear as to [whether they] are prepared to have reasonable rates of pay for an industry that is predominantly female, and predominantly grossly underpaid.”

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One comment

  1. What about the dedicated admin staff who leave their desks and turn into nurses . Nothing for them the ones that have to deal with all the relatives and keep the place going They are on the face working alongside nurses when needed and there is not agency staff available Everyone in an aged care facility working should have received recognition especially in this Covid time when all hands on deck Once you come in the door to work you should be acknowledged

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