Submission to the Productivity Commission Study on Aged Care Employment

by Fiona Macdonald

In 2021 the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended that gig work, independent contracting and other ‘indirect’ employment arrangements be restricted in the publicly-funded aged care sector.

The Royal Commission found that, to develop the ‘well led, skilled, career-based, stable and engaged workforce’ required to provide high quality aged care, service providers should be directly employing aged care workers as employees.

Rather than adopting this recommendation, the Federal Government referred the matter to a Productivity Commission inquiry.

The Centre for Future Work made a submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Aged Care Employment, in which we argue there is ample evidence to show there are unacceptable risks and consequences for both care workers and people receiving care, where workers are engaged as independent contractors, including as gig workers.

Restricting gig work and other indirect employment arrangements in aged care will also remove one form of unfair competition between aged care services providers. It will stop platforms, labour hire firms and others making profits in the publicly-funded care sector while avoiding the normal costs, risks and responsibilities of employing workers and providing care to the elderly.

Full submission