The apparent relaxation of a ban on South Australian aged care workers taking on two jobs leaves aged care workers at a serious financial disadvantage heading into Christmas, United Workers Union aged care director Carolyn Smith said today.
“The slippery wording of this ‘relaxation’ of the two-jobs ban does nothing to address the financial burden of the pandemic aged care workers have been expected to carry since the ban was announced in August,” Ms Smith said.
“The real effect of terms such as ‘to the extent reasonably possible’ personal care workers should not work across two facilities means regularly-employed personal care workers will remain blocked from working two jobs.
“The upshot will be to leave it to even more agency workers visiting multiple aged care facilities to paper over the cracks.
“It’s unfair and not a real long-term solution to the fundamental problems facing aged care workers and aged care providers. In addition, swapping agency staff for regular employees is not a robust defence against Coronavirus.
“Some aged care workers have been losing $1000 a week because of the ban on second jobs – a weekly loss which now looks likely to become permanent.
“The Marshall Liberal Government does not care about aged care workers. They have had months to work out how to make these changes without penalising families relying on dual incomes.
“The decision also goes to the heart of the crisis in aged care, where workers simply cannot rely on one job for their income.
“Australia before Covid-19 had the developed world’s second highest rate of part-time work and one of the highest levels of staff turnover. The impact on the ground is that workers will have to let go of one of their jobs, while agency staff will be spread even thinner to cover more and more unfilled shifts.
“It’s not fair because aged care workers have been turning up every day to protect Australia’s most vulnerable during this crisis.
“Residents of South Australia’s aged care facilities deserve better than a stop-gap workforce forced to live from pay cheque to pay cheque.”
Quotes attributable to aged care worker Steve
“My wife and I work as Personal Care Workers across multiple facilities.
“My household is affected significantly. We have three children under the age of 16 and we lose half our income – about $1000 a week.
“It affects our mortgage payments, our household expenses – it’s a huge impact financially and it’s totally unfair.”