Updated: Retention bonus payments less than promised

Government announces that payments made under the COVID-19 Workforce Retention Bonus Grant will now be taxed, despite advising on March 20 that the grants would be made after-tax.

The scheme is designed to help low-paid aged care workers in both home care and residential facilities during COVID-19 via two quarterly payments of $600 and $800 respectively. In now regarding the payments as taxable income will see workers receive around 30% less than originally promised.

The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), says the Federal Government has broken another promise to aged care workers at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 – by taxing their ‘retention bonus’.

“The retention bonus has been clouded in confusion from the start; clear details and information regarding how the bonus will work, who will be eligible, and how applications can be made, have not been forthcoming. We’ve also been told by some of our members that their employers aren’t even aware that the bonus scheme exists,” ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler, said today.


Further information on the grant can be found here with submission via the Grants Connect website here – https://www.grants.gov.au/ It is expected that applications can be made from mid-June with payments beginning to flow early July.

Update from the Dept of Health: 11 June 3.30pm AEST: The Grant opportunity round will open on Monday 15 June 2020 to accept applications from Approved Providers and Aged Care Workforce Agencies for eligible workers to receive the Aged Care Workforce Retention Payment.The retention bonus will be paid by employers (aged care providers and agencies who provide aged care staff) to their eligible staff. Workers will be required to be employed at the time of application to be eligible. Further information here – https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/workforce-retention-bonus-grant-residential-care-and-home-care

The grant round will remain open until 2pm Monday 20 July 2020. First payments will be made to providers/agencies in July 2020.

Update from the Dept of Health: 24 July: The workforce retention payments grant round will close on 31 July 2020. Don’t leave your application until the last minute as due to the volume of claims submitted, payments are now moving into August with the second payment scheduled for late September.

The Department has fielded worker enquiries asking when they will receive the bonus, so please ensure you keep communication open with eligible workers.

To ensure that applications can be processed promptly providers are reminded to include their provider ID and service ID on the Staffing Profile Spreadsheet supplied on the GrantConnect website.

All information regarding this grant opportunity can be found on the GrantConnect website. In addition we have Retention Bonus FAQs to assist providers and their employees.

Provider enquiries on the application may be submitted in writing to: grant.ATM@health.gov.au.


  1. The union has a lot to answer for in the Aged Care business,in the way that the rights of their members are being eroded and the way that the same members are being treated by their employers and the Union.
    Why is the payment being allowed to be taxed,with the union not even attempting to show some leadership?
    Why is it employers do not pay correct penalty rates for overtime,in complete reverse of what the workplace award states?
    Why is it employees are not paid for doing higher classification duties,as the award states?
    The union is a party to these signed agreements,yet it sits in the background and does nothing as it’s members work their butts off to help some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
    The employees in the business need,and deserve,better representation from these fully paid so called workers representatives in these challenging times now and in the future.

    • All unions have been like this for years. I only joined the nursing union when i started as an RN student for the PI insurance and that’s it. When i graduate this year I’ll look into other options

  2. So i don’t get the retention bonus because as the lifestyle coordinator i’m not a direct care worker. Well next week i’ll work from home because i don’t provide direct care. #lifestylecareworkersmatter

    • Agreed I am a lifestyle assistant and have direct contact with residents, staff and family everyday and multiple times a day This should be paid to lifestyle as well.

  3. What can you do if your employer does not apply for the retention bonus Grant for you even though you have asked many times.

  4. I am a chef who are currently working at Age Care facility ACT.
    I have heard about Retention bonus is not going to pay for Hospitality staff like me.
    What’s happen here? Could anyone’s give me an answer please. Thanks

    • Hi David,

      We have just updated the story, with a FAQ sheet and other information that will hopefully help answer your questions.

      Sean – Inside Ageing

  5. So how do I find out if facility i work at have recieved the funds. I have asked facility and so have other staff and answers are being backtracked.

  6. Government sucks!!!! How could they not acknowledge the domestic staff, such as laundry, kitchen, ect, shame on u, we are all at risk, we are all in direct with the residents, so Not fair!!! So we are not important in our roles???

  7. i am in home care worker and received my payment this week my question is how much tax should have been I paid, My payment was $120, but paid $52 in tax ,so lost nearly half my payment,Is there a set deduction ? .My annual wage is very low..

  8. still have not receive the initial retention bonus until now. My employer (edited) said they failed to submit application on cut-off date. Then i heard there was an extension for filing application for said bonus 14th August 2020 2pm. I emailed my union HWU asking for assistance so they can sort it out with my employer in behalf of their members who haven’t got the bonus. Disappointingly, i received no reply from HWU. Again my employer failed to apply for the initial payment and instead said they will try for the second one. What about the first one? Do we just accept how (edited) seemed not interested to pay us when we are working hard esp this pandemic with less staff but high care residents where i work, because they said we have less residents discounting the fact that they are high care.

  9. I have heard from an aged care worker who received retention bonus and that has permanent hours, that they didn’t receive total bonus as they were on paid leave at the time the bonus in their workplace was paid.
    How does this work.???

  10. Retention bonus of $400 for Age Care Workers,less tax $128,So it’s actually $272 Retention Bonus for Aged Care Workers.


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