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One of South Australia’s largest aged care providers, Eldercare, is effectively sacking essential aged care workers who have worked throughout the pandemic, telling them they must resign from their positions if they have another aged care job, the United Workers Union said today.

On Monday Eldercare, who describe themselves to prospective employees as “progressive” and providing “outstanding staff benefits”, told workers that they are not able to remain on unpaid leave if they nominated an alternative primary employer, as is required under current Covid-19 restrictions.

Eldercare workers have expressed their shock and disappointment that the aged care giant would treat them so harshly in the midst of a Covid-19 outbreak in the state.

United Workers Union aged care director Carolyn Smith condemned Eldercare’s decision not to hold the positions of workers who had been banned from working two jobs by the SA Government.

“Eldercare cutting these workers’ jobs highlights the complete lack of respect management have for the workers who have carried them through the Covid-19 crisis,” she said.

“After turning up to work on the frontline every day through this pandemic, aged care workers shouldn’t be punished for doing their part to keep the community safe. These workers have done nothing wrong. For Eldercare to turn around and show them the door is a disgrace.

“This is also a failure of the Marshall government. When the second job ban was introduced we raised concerns about the potential for situations like this to arise, but they chose not to put any safeguards in place to protect these workers.

“We wrote to Eldercare to ask what’s going on, and the chief executive’s response was plainly offensive.

“They’ve shown scant regard to the facts, and tried to claim that demanding employees’ resignations is somehow different to sacking them.

“The letter Eldercare sent us just goes to prove they don’t care about their workers.”