Have you been paid your $800 aged care worker bonus yet?

Have you been paid your bonus yet

Aged care workers across the country have been sharing the obstacles they’ve faced trying to receive the government’s praised $800 bonus, while the cash-strapped sector is being expected to fund the bonus to staff while funding applications are slowly worked through and approved by the government. 

Aged care staff have also been addressing what they see as small-mindedness by the government, and a bigger picture outlook is desperately needed to solve the problem they believe. 

Speaking to HelloCare, Donna Pretto said, “The system needs to be permanently fixed. Resident [and] staff ratios need to be implemented and wages raised to reflect the care and dedication of the aged care workers, be it out in the community or in nursing homes.”

Two months ago the government broadcast its plan to give 265,000 aged care staff a maximum bonus of $800 in two installments prior to the election, in response to mounting concerns over its management of the pandemic and the underpayment of the industry’s workers.

Employers were instructed to begin applications for the payment as of March 1 for eligible personnel who were actively working in the industry on February 28. 

However, providers are being tasked with having to outlay the money to staff concurrently with the lodgement of application to the government, before they have even been viewed and approved. 

Many staff have also spoken out about their frustration over not receiving the full $800. 

Tania Waldron spoke to HelloCare, and stated, “It will be good to get the payment but I don’t think it is fair that you pay tax on the payment as we have on past payment[s].” 

The Health Services Union (HSU)  and the United Workers Union (UWU), both representing aged care personnel, have been unanimous in agreement that the construction of the scheme has significantly placed obstacles to workers’ early and appropriate access to the bonus money. 

Secretary of the HSU, Gerard Hayes, said the government had been clearly warned on multiple occasions surrounding the issues plaguing access to the bonus scheme. 

Mr Hayes outlined that the most glaring hurdle is that many providers, especially not-for-profits, did not have the capacity to forgo the bonus money to workers while waiting for the government to get through the slow assessment and approval claims process. 

Speaking to The Guardian, he said, “The for-profits, there’s not many of them, I can see they might dip into their profit margin. 

“But the not-for-profits, I’ve got no idea where they would get the money to facilitate this.

“The reality is this is just a lot of show and not a lot of go.”

Carolyn Smith, aged care director for the UWU, said the widespread understanding by aged care personnel as led by Scott Morrison’s announcement in January, was that the bonus would be promptly received after March 1. 

Speaking to HelloCare, Rae Jamison clearly conveyed the confusion felt in the aged care worker community as to when bonuses would be received.

“Even though the government said that the first payment would be made in Feb, the application process was only made available to providers yesterday, so of course the payments haven’t been processed yet.”

Ms Smith also commented, and said, “So there’s just a level of frustration and anger.”

“It’s just been compounded by this overly bureaucratic and slow process.”

Continuing Ms Smith said that it has become evident that some categories of the aged care labour force – lifestyle and contracted cleaning workers, for example – were not eligible at all for the bonus.

Many working in the sector have shared their hope the bonus would encompass all.

Leonie Sinclair commented to HelloCare: “I hope it’s for all aged care workers!!!!” 

Clare, a lifestyle worker, shared her deep frustration and concern about the government’s lack of awareness regarding her role.

She continued, “No one has more contact with residents. This is very disheartening and disgusting, we choose this job to make [things] better for residents and we do this as we are told with the appreciation of residents and families but these slaps in the face make you feel totally forgotten and ignored.

“Makes many of us wonder what’s the point as we have been excluded from all payments, like all we do is nothing and does not matter.”

Speaking to HelloCare, Natasha Burma powerfully outlined that the limitation of eligibility and the bonus scheme itself was missing the bigger picture.

“To be honest, I’d actually forgotten about it. And I’d rather see that money go into more funding, more staff, more training.” 

Ms Burma added, “A bonus is nice in the short term but it doesn’t fix anything in the long term. Yeah, I’ve worked hard for it but so have many others and they too deserve to get recognised.”

Richard Colbeck, the Aged Care Minister, conveyed that his department had been communicating with aged care providers to fund the bonus to their workers “as soon as they submit the application to ensure staff are paid promptly”.

“This is an arrangement solely between the provider as the employer and their employees,” he said.

“It is a demand-driven grant – 322 applications have been received to date.”

He stated the government had prepared to field applications from 1,650 providers covering over 265,000 personnel to the cost of $210 million. 

The bonus scheme is in keeping with the approach of the $393 million aged care workforce retention payments that were approved in the beginning period of the pandemic in 2020. 

Payments were modelled to differ depending on the amount of hours completed, with the total of each dual installment to be a total of $400.

The HSU continues to wait for a decision to be made by the Fair Work Commission as to the case regarding a pay increase for aged care personnel of 25%, a possible $5 increase an hour.

HelloCare has heard from many aged care staff that the bonus doesn’t go far enough and the the pay rise is needed imminently.

Both providers and unions have settled on an in-principle agreement regarding the pay increase. 

Both have conveyed that irrespective of the pay rise linked to the Fair Work Commission orders, the move should be “fully funded by the federal government and linked to transparency and accountability measures as to how funding is used”.

Have you been paid your $800 aged care worker bonus yet? Tell us in the comments below. 

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  1. Hi I’m also a Diversional therapist ( lifestyle) and I agree with Clare, our role is vital to a resident’s physical and psychological needs and requirements. I cannot comprehend how our work lacks acknowledgement and consideration. It’s simply not good enough from the government to minoritise Diversional therapists who otherwise deserve recognition and support. We too have endured a lot in our line of work throughout the pandemic. Scott Morrison it’s time you stepped up and open your eyes to see what impacts are affecting us we are also considered health care/aged care workers

  2. We have been told we might receive payment in May. Unsure if that’s the 1st instalment or the entire amount.

  3. Haven’t received the payment as yet as nobody seem to know what’s going on.
    I’m a union delegate & have staff asking me when are they getting there money.

  4. Myself and co-workers have not and nor will my employer pay the bonus evan after applying for it, so here we all are end of March and not a cent to be seen. So I ask what is in place to ensure it actually goes to the worker and not into the employer’s account to sit on for the interest ! Just a thought and I’m sure plenty others have thought the same.
    So much talk about the sector, staff ratio, skilled staff and decent pay rate but alas that is where it stay’s talk and talk only.
    How many years so far ? my point exactly.
    Time to upskill or re-educate and leave, maybe the grass is greener on the other side !

  5. The answer is no. I work for a not-for-profit organisation that in the last 2 years has lost 2 million dollars. The Aged Care Commission has put people off coming into aged care and the focus for the government is home care packages. My home cannot pay workers the bonus until they receive it from the government.
    Also for Leisure & LIfestyle workers, administration and maintenance staff who go above and beyond who care for our residents, not to receive the bonus is appalling. Everyone should reveive the bonau

  6. Nope nothing and no information as to when we will get it just it’s coming soon. Really not good enough.

  7. Definitely not but I just thought it was just our age care lol but clearly others are waiting as well. I am support worker I do find it alittle upsetting they just state only for age care workers. As support services we put our role in and there’s also a lot to do and making sure food is serve to the residents and to wearing ppe at that time was difficult. I mean the cleaners did it hard as well and plus over time so it was just tiring for them as well as they had to make sure everything was cleaned/wiped etc.

  8. I work for Estia and have not had a Text or email in regard to the bonus payment, it’s as if it wasn’t ever promised or even exists. Now 3rd April 22 We have asked but there appears to be no information provided to them nor it appears have they tried to find information. Sadly.

  9. No sign of any bonus payment (as at 03.04.2022). Is it just another empty promise from a Liberal/National Government. Bring on the election.

  10. It’s just another govt disgrace. I am in the process of applying for the bonus for our staff. What staff don’t realise is the work required to determine how much each employee is eligible for.

    Also why are home care staff paid a lesser bonus. Everyone is doing the same job. One could argue that the home care worker has more responsibility
    as they work independently at the clients house. Personally I think it’s irrelevant and I would love to know why the payments are different.

    Employees must be employed from 28/2 and or 28/4
    The amount is based on the highest single weeks hours in the 4 weeks prior to the census dates

    So to maximise my workers payments, I have to know the highest weeks hours worked in 4 weeks for each employee, only then can I apply.

    I can then pay staff and wait for 6 weeks to be reimbursed providing our application is successful?? There is no guarantee !

    From the grant
    2.6
    How much is the bonus payment?
    Eligible workers employed on a census date are entitled to a payment of up to $800, depending on
    how many census dates they were employed on, the type of aged care being provided and hours
    worked.
    The bonus payment amounts are:
    Most hours worked in a single week of the
    Bonus payment for
    Tiers
    Tier 3
    Tier 2
    Tier 1
    4 weeks prior to the census date/s.

    residential care workers
    Over 30 hours. $800
    Over 15 hours and up to 30 hours $640
    Between 3 hours and up to 15 hours $400

    Bonus payment for home care workers
    Over 30 hours $600
    Over 15 hours and up to 30 hours $480
    Between 3 hours and up to 15 hours $300

    Hope this helps workers understand.

    1. Can you please tell us what the date exactly we will get this $800 bonus as have not received any $$yet?

  11. No…. our dedicated workers have not yet received the bonus payment as yet. Our management emailed our workers only yesterday (21st April 2022) to inform us that, they have now applied for bonus retention money and will receive in a few weeks. Weren’t they able to apply 1st March ???

  12. Haven’t received payment as yet .
    What I feel we have received is a slap to the face for how well we all worked during the pandemic.
    Shame on you scomo.

  13. No we have not been paid I work for Menarock aged care in Victoria our HR has told us they have been paid for three of there facilities but not the others . I have talked to other age care pcas in other companies in our area which is Shepparton Victoria and they have all received there’s but we are still waiting and now we all think we are not going to get it we are all starting to feel let down

  14. PCA in an aged care facility. On parttime contract but work 76 hours a fortnight while understaffed. I keep being told I’m eligible for at first the 250 then the 300 then the 400 then the 1000 then the 3000 and now being told I’m eligible for 8000, and yet, I see nor money, no course of action, just left feeling like I’m being fed lies until they either have the ability to hide the fact that they are giving a payment and moving on, or that they’ll just tell everyone that they are not eligible and be done with it. i have very little hope that any sort of payment or “bonus” will be coming our way.

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