Aged care operators to be paid for residents who leave during COVID-19 – around 500 families supporting residents at home

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Good news for operators that may have seen families move loved one home during the pandemic.

The Government passed the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Emergency Leave) Bill 2020 on Wednesday to create a new kind of ‘pandemic leave’ for aged care residents.

Under the existing temporary leave arrangements, the home is paid while residents are entitled to up to 52 days (about eight weeks) of social leave in a financial year.

They can also take extra social leave – but the Government won’t foot the $230 per resident per day cost, meaning operators must absorb the costs or pass them onto the resident.

Now providers will continue to be paid subsidies during emergency situations such as pandemics, floods or bushfires even if a resident does breach the 52-day cap.

The legislation also prevents providers from charging residents to reserve rooms while on leave during emergencies – backdated to 1 April.

Labor’s Shadow Minister for Ageing, Julie Collins, says there are currently around 500 Australian families caring for loved ones under social leave arrangements.

“Amending these Acts will ensure that the family or consumer will not take on this unnecessary financial burden if they have passed the 52-day social leave arrangements,” she said.