Many home care services are unable to take on new clients because of acute workforce shortages, an aged care industry alliance says.

LASA’s Sean Rooney, CEO of one of the peaks represented on the AACC

The Australian Aged Care Collaboration says the workforce is at a crisis point and the situation is being made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, international border closures and competition for staff with vaccination clinics.

“Many home care services cannot take on new clients to meet increasing demand,” the AACC says in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The group acknowledged the work done by the government in response to the Royal Commission, including the aged care nurse retention bonus and home care workforce support program.

But ongoing workforce pressures show more comprehensive action is needed, it says.

“We now urge the Government to respond comprehensively to the challenges posed by the current workforce crisis. Older people deserve nothing less.”

Wage increase

The AACC is calling on the federal government to formally agree to fund the outcome of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) Work Value Case, which would lift aged care wages by 25 per cent is successful.

In June the Health Services Union (HSU) filed an additional application to include home care workers in the case.

If the claim succeeds it will take wages for an entry level home care worker from $21.35 to $26.69 per hour.

The case remains before the commission and hearings are expected to resume early to mid next year.

VET pathways into home care

It also wants to see the development of VET aged care pathways for highschool students with a focus on home care, as well as

incentives for nursing students and care and support workers to enter aged care and a plan for foreign workers to fill shortfalls.  

AACC notes that CEDA’s Duty of Care Report predicted at least 110,000 extra care workers will be needed over the next ten years with the figure set to increase to 400,000 by 2050.

The AACC groups together six peak aged care bodies including ACSA and LASA, representing more than 1,000 organisations that collectively deliver care to some 1.3 million Australians.

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11 Comments

  1. Has nothing to do with wages/ Royal Commission and everything to do with the mandate. If anyone cant see this they need to work on the ground in home care or aged care and stop pretending its something its not from an office in Canberra.

  2. What a load of rubbish. I work in Home Care and work 7 days a week and am lucky to get 33-35 hours per week. Many workers in my company don’t have enough hours. Most of the work is concentrated in the mornings for showers.

  3. One of the key problems is that with consumer directed care, if clients don’t get EXACTLY waht they want, they change providers.
    In reality not everyone can have a shower at 8am, and then you have clients with lower level services such as DA insisting they have the cleaner at 8am as well. It is just not possible to fit every client in at their exact day and time, then when they don’t get the EXACT day and time, they say, fine I will go elsewhere.
    Providers want to keep the clients so they try to get more staff to cover the small morning period.
    This leads to an uneven spread of work in early mornings that causes workers to get split shifts or very small amount of hours per day. Not many people want to work 7am to 10am and then again int the evening or even nothing in the evening.

  4. wow Kellie, where do you live? come and work for us, we are desperate for staff. we have 200 hours we cant fill each week. it is a crisis situation in WA

  5. The problem as I see it is the amount of unpaid hours made up of unpaid travel time and unpaid travel kms between clients per day. This makes our pay so low its actually way below the minimum wage

  6. This is a disgrace. Why won’t the government act. Do they think that older people deserve less?

  7. My wife works home care and provides quality care and although she gets a fair hourly rate, she doesn’t get paid travel money so once the fuel bill is taken into account it turns out to be not so good. If she was paid for fuel and travel time it would be much fairer and a recognition of the quality care she provides. Im a Cabinet Maker and wouldnt think of taking a subcontract job without those things.

    1. Historically in Voctoria homecare services were provided by Local government councils. Workers were well paid-they got their travel time & klms(all mandated in EBA’s). They were well supervised & supported and got ongoing training and there was a small career development(and wage increase) pathway if they did further training and took on higher needs clients. The result was commited workers and a very good service. And Senior rate payers felt they got value for their rates. All of that has been dismantled by the Federal Liberal Government and the funding pushed towards the private for profit sector. It’s been a dismal failure. Local Government has gone out of it because they couldnt compete with the screwed down costs. And that led to a whole cohort of workers retiring.

  8. I work in the Community Care industry, we are knocking back lots of clients due to not being able to employ good staff, and lost lots of good staff last December, now with the QLD health mandate being extended to October (for what ever reason) we can’t take these staff back on. My concern is venerable people are missing out on the care they need, which defeats the purpose of being given a HCP to keep them at home.

  9. The wages are far too low to attract a quality workforce and retain them. Client expectations around times and having the same worker every shift are impossible to provide. Clients complain bitterly over these inconveniences but won’t compromise or negotiate. Overseas workforce is not the answer! Every aged-care worker is expected to be a ‘nurse’ and families and clients put such high demands on care-staff the burnout if massive. Everyone wants a ‘nurse’ for $20 an hour! Not paying kilometres between shifts can make the work non-viable in many cases. The government won’t commit to funding providers to pay proper wages for the staff but keep banging on with rhetoric around how we must be providing high quality services. Climb out of your ivory towers, come down to the real world where the pain points are real. Would you work for between $20 – $26 an hour, use your own vehicle unpaid? People working in aged-care are constantly being undermined and complained about and yet we are doing the hard-slog for the rest of the country who maintain a negative opinions of us. We are not the bogeymen in the discussion. The majority of us are hard-working, kind, decent people who just want a fair go. Yes, we are all vaccinated. Because we care!

  10. Cant see the VET thing working. They’re too young. They need life experience. And what’s the career path? Train for a job you’ll only ever earn $25 an hour for the rest of your life? They’ll stay 1-2 years and move on. Its needs a strategy to attract LONG TERM workers.

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