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Did you know that aged care workers are entitled to a retention bonus as part of the federal government’s funding to support age care providers, residents, staff and families during COVID-19?

The purpose of these payments is to retain care workers in the workforce.

Eligible residential care workers can receive up to $800 before tax, and eligible home care workers can receive up to $600 before tax, per quarter, for two quarters, respectively.

To access the payment employers, who are approved aged care providers and agencies who provide aged care staff, must apply for a grant on behalf of all their eligible workers by 20 July 2020.

Carol Symons, who is a nurse/supervisor at a residential aged care facility in Melbourne, said her management had applied for the bonus on behalf of the staff that worked there.

“I sent an email to my manager requesting clarification regarding the bonus and voiced my expectation that they do apply,” she said.

“While I have not received anything yet, a memo was placed in the office letting us know that they [the management] had applied and would continue to inform staff of the progress.”

According to the government, it is up to the employer to pass on the payment to eligible staff. Payments start from 13 July.

Carol said she appreciated the bonus and implied it was well deserved.

“We have gone above and beyond professionally and personally to protect our residents.”

Full time, part-time and casual staff are eligible, and payments are on a pro-rata basis.

Carol encourages all those entitled to apply.

“All staff are entitled should request their management to apply. I would not take “no” for an answer. They [aged care staff] are entitled to it, and it costs facilities nothing to apply, so why wouldn’t they? They have a moral and legal obligation to apply as far as I am concerned.”

However, if your employer does not apply or believes you are ineligible for the bonus, the government suggests you meet with your employer and provide evidence for hours worked in the four weeks before application.

The government is also implementing a complaint handling process, with further details being released in the future.

If you believe you have received the incorrect payment the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) recommends contacting your state or territory branch.

For more information, head to the ANMF website where a detailed information sheet answers questions about the bonus including pay scales, pay dates, eligibility criteria and the process for applying.

For employers to access the grant follow this link