The devastating impact of aged care workers being banned from two jobs has been revealed in major meetings of SA aged care workers in the last two days.
“We are seeing members who face huge financial and emotional penalties from this decision,” United Workers Union aged care director Carolyn Smith said today.
“If a household is losing $1000 a week, you know that means money for essentials will be hit hard. This hasty decision is even threatening some workers’ ability to stay in Australia.
“Aged care workers have been turning up every day to protect Australia’s most vulnerable during this crisis.
“Instead of rewarding aged care workers, Premier Steven Marshall is punishing aged care workers by cutting their jobs with no plan to address shortfalls.
“Our meeting with the SA Health Department this week shows there has been no plan to address the impact of these cuts on frontline aged care workers or aged care facilities that were understaffed already.”
Ms Smith said the meetings of SA aged care workers held by United Workers Union had also revealed:
– Aged care workers being incorrectly banned from jobs not currently restricted by the government.
– Shortfalls in personal protective equipment and PPE training in SA aged care facilities.
– Aged care workers being bullied by providers to nominate them as their continuing employer.
“Our members’ experience shows us is there is no plan to protect South Australian aged care workers,” Ms Smith said.
“If you make such a significant change by a stroke of the pen, you need to support Australia’s aged care workers so they can continue to work on the frontline.”
Available for interview:
Carolyn Smith, aged care director, United Workers Union
Aged care workers Steve and Justine
Steve and his wife both work as Personal Care Workers across multiple facilities. They are both affected by the proposed bans.
They have three children under the age of 16 and face a hit to their household income of $1000 a week.
Steve says the cuts will have a significant effect on the household budget, putting pressure on essentials such as mortgages, bills and kids’ school fees by reducing household income by 50 per cent.
Justine is working on a visa that requires him to earn above a certain threshold each year if he is to achieve permanent resident status.
Because of the ban he will not achieve that status, which he has worked hard towards.
He estimates the cuts to his and his wife’s income from the cuts (his wife also works in aged care) will cost their household $1200 a fortnight.
He also estimates that after paying for mortgages, car loans and food, he will be left with $100 a fortnight to pay on bills.
The issue has caused his household a great deal of stress and anxiety.