Dear Staff Member,
I am addressing this letter to you because you are working for another aged care provider in addition to working with Our Lady of Consolation Aged Care & Services. The fact that you work for two aged care providers would not normally be a concern for us, but in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic it has become a concern, and it is important that you are aware of this and have a chance to consider your position.
What you need to be aware of
You should be aware that there are growing concerns about any pattern of employment where staff work for more than one aged care provider. In the context of a large number of COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities in Victoria, staff working across several aged care facilities have been identified as a significant risk factor because of the potential for them to transmit the virus from one facility to another. The South Australian government has been watching the events in Victoria and this week they announced that staff will no longer be permitted to work at more than one facility. The NSW government is also concerned and this week we also had an update from Dr Kerry Chant, the Chief Health Officer with NSW Health Department. Her update touched on this issue of staff working at multiple facilities and she said: “As part of preparedness planning, aged care providers should put in place arrangements to limit staff working across facilities.”
I appreciate that there are financial implications for staff involved and I understand that the Commonwealth Government has provided some funding for staff in this position in Victoria. We are not in a position to know if NSW will follow the lead of South Australia, but if there is increased community transmission and there are outbreaks at aged care facilities in Sydney then I think that it is very likely.
Regardless of the response from government, if we have an outbreak at OLOC or if there is clearly a heightened level of community transmission in western Sydney, then we will need to insist that you work entirely for OLOC or that you work exclusively for the other provider.
What you need to do
In the meantime, while you are working for more than one provider, you will need to wear a surgical mask while you are working in OLOC facilities. Your supervisor will provide you with details of how you can source masks for this purpose.
I fully appreciate that there will be financial implications for you, but these are not normal times and I encourage you to consider your position now and assess whether it is feasible to change your current work arrangements and work for one employer or the other until this pandemic is over. Of course we would prefer that you work with OLOC, and if you would like to discuss this option please ring Jenny Fahy on 9832 5418.
Chief Executive Officer,
14 August 2020