Aged Carer Retention Bonus


In March, the Federal Government announced a $234.9 million COVID-19 Workforce Retention Bonus Grant for the Aged Care Sector. This entitled eligible residential aged carers up to $800 after tax per quarter ($1600 in total) and up to $600 after tax per quarter to home care workers ($1200 in total) for two financial quarters.

The HWU believes all aged care workers should be entitled to this $1600 retention bonus – not just aged carers. ALL aged care workers are on the frontline in the fight against COVID19. We’re all in this together.

Whether its reception and admin staff, leisure and lifestyle workers, maintenance and laundry staff, cleaners and environmental workers, kitchen and catering workers - full-time, part-time, casual or agency workers – EVERYONE working within an aged care facility has an important role to play!

ALL aged care staff are essential, and ALL should get the retention bonus. Most HWU members agree. Thank you to the 12,000 workers who signed our HWU petition calling for a fair deal for ALL aged care workers:

The Minister for Aged Care, Mr Richard Colebeck, has now responded to our members. Sadly, he is refusing to budge. One suspects the Mr Colebeck has never been inside an aged care facility. If he did, he’d understand the value of ALL aged care workers. For now, the unfair eligibility arrangements stay in place.

What’s worse, the Minister for Aged Care has now backflipped on his promise that the payment would be tax-free. He now says payments will be taxed. The amount of tax a worker pays will depend on their current marginal tax rate.

Will the eligibility requirements change?

It’s disappointing that so many aged care workers will miss out on the retention bonus. The HWU will continue to campaign to see this changed. Treating all aged care workers equally is the right thing to do. It will require significant political pressure, on a national and community level, for the government to change its mind. If you haven’t signed the petition, please do so now at If you wish to register a complaint with the Minister for Aged Care directly, email him at       

Who gets the payment?

This Australian Government payment is designed for direct care workers providing clinical care and personal care and allied health workers to remain employed in residential and home care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aged Care workers who are eligible are direct care workers in residential care facilities, including personal care workers, registered nurses, enrolled nurses, allied health workers as well as home care workers.

How does the payment work?

Your employer is required to make an application to receive the Federal Government funding based on a calculation of eligible employees. A grants round opened for eligible providers in mid-June 2020. The retention bonus payment will be taxed at your current marginal tax rate. Part-time employees receive a pro-rata payment.

When do eligible recipients get the first payment?

The timing of the first payment will depend on when your employers’ application was made. If your employer made an application in mid-June when the funding round opened, then payments can be expected to start flowing from early July 2020.

When will the second payment be made?

Providers with eligible staff employed at 31 August 2020 will receive a payment in September to pass onto their workers.

What if my employer doesn’t apply for the payment?

In the first instance, contact your Facility Manager to ensure they have made an application to receive the funding. Your employer should have done so by now. If your employer has NOT made an application to receive the funding or has no intention of doing so, please inform the HWU immediately on (03) 9341 3300.

What if the employer is refusing to pay me the retention bonus?

Your employer must pay eligible employees the retention bonus. If you believe you meet the eligibility criteria based on your classification and your employer is refusing to pay you the retention bonus, please call the HWU on (03) 9341 3300 or email us at (clearly stating your name, contact number, employer, and current classification).

Where can I get more info?

For more detailed information, download the Retention Bonus Grant fact sheet by clicking on the following link: