Aged Care Members Update

HWU UPDATE – FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS ON WORKING AT MORE THAN ONE AGED CARE SITE

(AFFECTS AGED CARE WORKERS LIVING AND/OR WORKING IN METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE AND MITCHELL SHIRE)

WHAT’S CHANGED IN AGED CARE?

The Federal Government, through the Federal Department of Health, has notified aged care providers of a significant change in the conditions attached to any funding it would provide residential aged care employers. Health sector unions (including the HWU) participated in a stakeholder meeting on Sunday with the Federal Government to ensure that the interests of Victorian aged care workers were represented.

The Federal Government wants aged care workers living in Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell shire to only work at a single site. Aged care providers will only receive additional Commonwealth funding if the employee chooses – as their primary worksite – the site at which they ordinarily work their most hours.

WHY HAS THIS CHANGE OCCURRED?

The Federal Government has concerns that aged care workers are spreading COVID19 across aged care residential facilities.

Hundreds of aged care workers and residents have been infected by COVID19 in recent weeks. By discouraging workers from working across multiple sites, the government believes they can significantly reduce the rate of infection in residential aged care facilities within Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

WHO DOES THIS AFFECT?

There are tens of thousands of part-time and casual Victorian aged care workers. Indeed, full-time employees also complete extra hours for a second employer on the weekend. Many HWU workers work at multiple sites. It is a common industry practice.

The change affects employees (including casual employees) of residential aged care who work at more than one residential aged care site, where one of those sites is in either Metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire. This change only affects aged care workers within Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

If you have more than one job and one is in Metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, and the other is outside Metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, you will work at the site at which you work the majority of your hours even if that site is not in Metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, and your other job/s must be preserved.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR AGED CARE WORKERS?

For affected workers, the worksite where you work the most hours will become your primary workplace, rather than you getting to choose which site will become your primary workplace. Your ‘primary workplace’ will be the single site at which you will work all your shifts. That worksite will employ you for at least your total normal hours by providing additional hours equal to or greater than the hours you were working elsewhere.

If the employer does not have sufficient rostered hours to employ you for the additional hours then they must employ you for supernumerary hours (shifts that are additional to the usual number of staff on a shift) up to the foregone amount of hours.

The primary employer can then make a declaration to the Commonwealth for reimbursement of the supernumerary paid hours that have been worked.

FUNDING FOR AGED CARE PROVIDERS FOR POSITIVE COVID19 TEST AND QUARANTINED WORKERS IN MELBOURNE AND MITCHELL SHIRE

The Federal Government has also announced that aged care providers will be funded to provide income support to residential and home care workers for employees unable to work due to a positive test for COVID-19, symptoms, self-isolation or quarantine.

This applies to all permanent and casual employees (including non-care workers).

Employers will receive funding to be able to pay for leave where the employee does not have sufficient sick or personal leave provisions or where leave is exhausted.

HOW LONG WILL THESE ARRANGEMENTS BE IN PLACE FOR?

The changes will be in place from Monday 27 July until November 30. This time period may be extended.

If the Victorian Government declared an extension of COVID-19 lockdown into other areas of Victoria, these changes would also be extended to those areas.

WHO IS NOT AFFECTED?

If you are an aged care worker who only works at one residential aged care facility, if you do no live or work in Metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, then you will not be impacted by this change.

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY OTHER JOB IN AGED CARE?

Your other employer/s must grant you unpaid single site leave for the duration of the period, preserve your accrued annual leave and personal leave, keep your job open for you to return to at the conclusion of the period, AND ensure that the period unpaid single site leave is treated as service for long service leave purposes.

WILL I BE FINANCIALLY WORSE OFF?

Impacted employees should not be worse off financially. If you believe you are being disadvantaged in any way, please call the Health Workers Union on 
(03) 9341 3300 or email info@hwu.org.au.