Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for residential aged care workers

On 28 June 2021, the National Cabinet agreed that at a minimum, the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine must be mandatory for all residential aged care workers.

This means that across the nation, all residential aged care workers as a condition of working in a Residential Aged Care Facility (‘RACF’), must be vaccinated for COVID-19 (first dose) by mid-September 2021. Undoubtedly there will be further information released about the practical implementation of this decision.

The Federal Government has indicated that it intends to work in partnership with the States and use the same system used for the mandatory flu vacation for aged care workers.

As a means to combat the impact of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination decision on the available workforce in the residential aged care sector, the Commonwealth has also announced an $11 million program – Residential Aged Care COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Support Grant (‘Grant’). The Grant will provide funding to RACF for the following eligible expenditure:

  • Casual employees going off-site for vaccination will be paid a flat fee of $80 per employee (per dose);
  • Casual employees* one day’s paid leave (at a rate of $185 per day) for a casual employee who becomes unwell after vaccination (capped at one quarter of the provider’s total number of casual staff; and
  • A payment of $500 per site for the facilitation of off-site vaccination for employees – may include payment for transport services and arranging groups of staff to be vaccinated. The flexible facilitation payment may also be used to cover the expense of any other reasonable expense that “incentivise” employees to receive the vaccination.
    (*) Casual employees, who unlike permanent employees have no access to paid leave entitlements.

The Federal Government have said that they will continue to monitor the risks and benefits of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination decision and its effects on the residential aged care industry.

Disclaimer: The information contained this article is general and intended as a guide only. Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances. While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this update, Aitken Legal does not accept liability for any errors it may contain. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.