The Australian Government is closely monitoring the situation across the country, particularly in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
Following the hotspot declaration in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) by the Australian Government Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, workers at residential aged care facilities in the ACT are asked to limit their work to a single facility to reduce the risk of transmission and protect workers and residents.
Australian Government grant funding is now available to support implementation of these arrangements in the above area for an initial two-week period from 12 August to 26 August 2021.
Providers in the ACT are asked to adjust their rosters and ensure staff are only working at one residential aged care facility within this region during this time. Workers are encouraged to speak with their primary employer and look to work all shifts during this period with the residential aged care provider where they were working the most hours prior to the outbreak.
To the greatest extent possible, the employer should seek to match any hours no longer being worked with a secondary employer to ensure the worker is not financially disadvantaged. It is important workers also retain the security of any secondary employment.
Facilities should also be prepared a line listing of all staff and residents, including date of birth and vaccination status in the event this is required in an outbreak scenario. Ensuring adequate staff members are suitably trained in administrative processes, including rostering and cohorting staff, is also essential.
Where this results in additional workforce expenses, providers are able to seek reimbursement from the Australian Government through the Support for Aged Care Workers in COVID-19 (SACWIC) Grant. The SACWIC grant opportunity remains open until 31 December 2021.
In addition to funding support, a reminder that providers can also access guidance on practical implementation of single site arrangements, including employee relations expertise, through the Guiding Principles Support Hub website or hotline on 1800 491 793.