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Protecting Older Australians - COVID-19 Update 16 May 2020


Safe Work Australia Guides

Earlier this week, Safe Work Australia released new advice by the industry to help minimise the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission in the workplace.

The guides provide detailed advice for businesses and workers on how to stay safe from coronavirus.

They include information on workers’ rights, responsibilities under workplace health and safety laws, cleaning and mental health.

Aged care providers must implement control measures to eliminate or minimise the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of their workers, residents and others at the workplace. This is a requirement under Work Health and Safety laws.

The Australian Government Department of Health has published a range of specific resources on COVID-19 for aged care providers, including those providing in-home care. You should continue to refer to these resources for information about what to do.

Further information is available from:


Emergency Leave for Aged Care Residents

Minister Colbeck has announced a new emergency leave provision for permanent residential aged care residents.

The new provision will enable the Government to determine an emergency situation exists for a specified time period, allowing aged care residents to take emergency leave, rather than using and potentially exhausting their existing social leave entitlements.

This will assist the significant number of aged care residents who have indicated they wish to temporarily relocate with family for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

For the current COVID-19 emergency the Determination will be backdated to 1 April this year. As a result permanent aged care residents who have taken leave from their aged care home during the COVID-19 emergency will be able to access the new leave type retrospectively from 1 April 2020.

Social leave balances will be restored to their 1 April 2020 level and any additional charges paid by residents for exceeding their social leave limit will need to be reimbursed by their provider.

Aged care homes will continue to be paid the residential care subsidy when residents are on emergency leave, ensuring neither residents nor providers are disadvantaged.

As with social leave, residents will still be required to pay their basic daily fees and any means tested care fee and daily accommodation payment obligations whilst on emergency leave.

Providers will also be able to backdate claims for emergency leave payments to 1 April 2020. Services Australia are currently working on the payment system changes and will update providers in due course on claiming arrangements.

This initiative will allow permanent aged care residents and their families to make their own decisions about personal safety in emergency situations, without suffering financially as a result.

A copy of the media release is available here.

Further information on this initiative will be provided shortly.


Further Translated Aged Care Resources

Further translated aged care resources including an in home care fact sheet has been made available.

To check the list of COVID-19 resources by language, please visit the department’s website.

Unknown Author, 2020, Department of Health

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