Australia’s three largest aged care advocacy bodies have joined forces to demand that paid pandemic leave be made available to Australia’s entire workforce, not just those in hotspot areas, to prevent further COVID-19 tragedy.
Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and the Aged Care Guild say staff being confident in taking leave was a critical factor in reducing the threat of COVID-19 in aged care.
“Community transmission is putting older Australians in peril, and pandemic leave is a key plank in stopping the virus infecting our most vulnerable,” they said in a statement.
“The sector made it clear from the outset back in February that pandemic leave was going to be central to halting the spread from home to home as well as keeping a lid on outbreaks more broadly.
“The pandemic leave in hotspots that the federal government has funded is great but it needs to be extended.”
They said waiting until there were major outbreaks was “too late”.
“It should be a prevention measure alongside hospitalisation of first cases.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed this morning that the Federal Government would allow other states and territories to join Victoria in accessing $1500 pandemic payments for workers without sick leave.
Unions have also called for a national scheme to prevent outbreaks driven by people going to work when sick or waiting for test results.
“If other states or territories want to enter into a similar arrangement, then I’ll be making that offer to the states and territories if they wish to do that,” he told Seven’s Sunrise program.
“Of course, they are not facing the same level of challenge. The health advice we had out of Victoria was to do this.”