Politics

Aged care worker bonus payments: Scott Morrison announces two $400 injections


The Prime Minister will announce two new bonus payments totalling up to $800 for hundreds of thousands of people in one workforce.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce two bonus payments totalling up to $800 for aged care staff, amid a push for workers in the sector to get a 25 per cent pay rise.

The $209m announcement will be made in Mr Morrison’s National Press Club address on Tuesday and comes after Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese committed to boosting aged care funding at the weekend.

It will involve two payments of $400, to be paid pro rata on hours worked.

The first $400 payment will be made this month, with the second $400 handout to be given out by early May to acknowledge the increasing challenges from Covid.

“Of course none of our health outcomes would be possible without the hard work, long hours and dedicated care offered by our frontline health and aged care workforce,” Mr Morrison is expected to say in his address.

“That’s why I am announcing today the government is providing a further $209m to support the aged care workforce to continue to care for older Australians through the pandemic.

“In coming months, two bonus payments of up to $400 each will be paid to aged care workers in government subsidised home care and to aged care workers providing direct care, food or cleaning services in government subsidised residential care.”

This latest bonus will be in addition to previous ones announced by the federal government, including three $800 payments to direct care workers in residential aged care or $600 for home care staff, announced in 2020.

“This is a responsible commitment that builds on the $393m provided over three payments to 234,000 aged care workers earlier in the pandemic,” the Prime Minister will say.

Mr Morrison’s announcement comes amid a looming case before the Fair Work Commission to lift more than 200,000 aged care workers’ pay by 25 per cent.

Launched by the Health Services Union, it would mean a pay rise of at least $5 an hour if the industrial tribunal decides to vary the award.

Mr Albanese on Sunday called on the government to make a submission to the commission to support the increase in wages, after making his own loose commitment to increase funding.

“Aged care funding needs to be increased,” he told ABC’s Insiders.

“Will you go further?” host David Speers asked.

“Yes,” Mr Albanese said.

“We still don’t have a commitment to increase wages and conditions so that aged care facilities are able to attract the staff.

“So I’ll tell you one thing we would do right now: there’s a case before the Fair Work Commission for an increase in wages for aged care staff.

“The federal government should be making a submission to that, to the commission, supporting an increase in wages.”

Originally published as Scott Morrison announces two $400 bonus payments for aged care workers

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