The Morrison Government is extending emergency leave arrangements for people living permanently in residential aged care who want to temporarily relocate with family to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19.
The 12-month extension means the emergency leave provisions are now in place until 30 June 2022.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the extension allows aged care residents to continue to take emergency leave during unpredictable COVID-19 outbreaks, rather than using their limited social leave entitlements.
“We want to provide certainty and reassurance to residents who wish to temporarily relocate and stay with family at times when COVID-19 is a risk in their aged care residence,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The Morrison Government is providing two tiers of support available through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) for people taking emergency leave.
“This includes personal care and nursing services, as well as entry level supports, such as meals and transport.”
Emergency leave provisions were introduced in May 2020, giving permanent aged care residents the option to take emergency leave during a declared emergency.
The entitlement was initially in place from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020 and has already been extended once to 30 June 2021.
Permanent aged care residents are usually entitled to up to 52 days of non-hospital related leave (social leave) within a financial year under the Aged Care Act 1997.
When residents take emergency leave they must continue to pay their basic daily fees, means tested care fees and daily accommodation fees, which is the same requirement when taking social leave.
During the leave period, the Australian Government continues to pay residential care subsidies, ensuring providers are not disadvantaged when residents take emergency leave.
More information on emergency leave and CHSP supports is available on the Department of Health website.