Three months on, aged care workers still waiting for COVID payments

More than 70% of aged care workers still haven’t received their $400 bonus, as promised by Prime Minister Scott Morrison back in February, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) revealed today.

Results of a national poll of nurses and aged care workers conducted by the ANMF has found:

  • 71% have not received any of the two promised bonuses;
  • 26% have received one bonus;
  • Only 2.7% have received both

Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the ANMF and its members were ‘angry and disappointed, but unfortunately, not surprised’.

“When the Morrison Government first announced this bonus payment, meant to recognise the extraordinary efforts of aged care nurses and workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our members were not impressed. Aged care unions and providers called for much more for overwhelmed aged care workers – genuine measures to fix the crisis in aged care,” Ms Butler said.

“But the Government failed to take action – it did not address the staffing crisis and it refused to participate in the Fair Work Commission’s process to increases wages for aged care workers, opting instead for two pro-rata payments of up to $400 aimed at preventing an exodus of staff from the frontline. While acknowledging this small offering, unions warned that the payments remained grossly inadequate. Now we discover that not only has the Morrison Government failed to take real action to fix the crisis in aged care, it hasn’t even delivered on its promised bonus payment for workers.

“Our members have had enough of this complete lack of regard from the Government. It’s simply disgraceful that during these toughest of times, some of our lowest-paid workers have been abandoned. They are sick of being undervalued and ignored by Government, and they’ll be looking for real solutions this election,” Ms Butler said. 

Comment from ANMF survey participant, Christine, Assistant in Nursing (AIN) from Queensland. Only first payment received:

“Every day I question myself – am I doing enough to keep the residents happy? I want to spend time with them, but I can only spend 8-20 minutes per resident a day. That is not enough. We do the morning cares, a shower, and that’s it. There’s not enough time to do everything, the paperwork, the social cares. We don’t have time to even have breaks or sometimes even go to the toilet. I come home sometimes, and I cry to myself because I don’t think I’ve done enough for them. I’ve worked in aged care for almost 6 years, and I don’t think I can do it anymore. I want change, I want more staffing and to increase the quality of aged care. Government needs to step up and do something.”

ANMF media release authorised by Annie Butler, ANMF Federal Secretary. 1/365 Queen St, Melbourne. 

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