23 February 2022

Productivity Commission to consider leave options for carers of senior Australians


Joint media release with

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services
Minister for Sport

The Productivity Commission will examine the merits of unpaid leave allocations for all workers who need to care for an older relative or friend and undertake a study of employment models across the aged care sector.

As a part of the Morrison Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Final Report, both matters have been referred to the Commission.

The examination will provide the Government with a detailed understanding of the economy‑wide impacts of both matters.

The Productivity Commission will establish a formal inquiry into the potential impact of amending the Fair Work Act 2009 to provide all employees with a minimum entitlement of unpaid carers’ leave, if they are caring for senior Australians living at home.

This investigation is in direct response to Recommendation 43 of the Royal Commission, which urged the Government to examine the potential impacts of providing an additional entitlement.

Informal carers are a critical element of the care system for older people. Partners, children and other relatives not only provide care but help seniors maintain their social and community connections.

While Carer Payment and Carer Allowance are available to people who spend a considerable amount of time providing informal care, carers may be forced to choose between their caring role and their jobs or careers.

The Productivity Commission inquiry will help us better understand whether unpaid leave would improve carers’ wellbeing and make it easier for them to maintain the care relationship.

The wider examination of employment models is a response to Recommendation 87 of the Royal Commission’s Final Report which proposed aged care services have policies and procedures in place to directly employ workers where possible, rather than using contractors.

The study will underline the impact of different employment models on the quality of care delivered to older Australians.

The Productivity Commission will be required to provide a final report on the inquiry into leave for informal carers by early 2023.

It will provide its study into employment models by September 2022. The Terms of Reference are available on the Productivity Commission website.

These referrals to the Productivity Commission demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring all senior Australians receive support founded on respect, care and dignity.

The Government has accepted, or accepted in principle, 126 out of 148 recommendations from the Royal Commission’s Final Report.

We are implementing reform to transform the aged care system through our historic $17.7 billion Budget package.