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Industry criticises "redundant" review of on-hire staffing in care sector

The Productivity Commission is seeking feedback on the merits of restricting the use of labour hire and agency contractors in aged care, with the RCSA deeming the "redundant" inquiry a waste of money.

In its issues paper, the Commission acknowledges that regulating the use of indirect employment, including via digital platforms, is likely to have flow-on effects to other sectors, such as disability care.

The study stems from the 2018 Royal Commission into aged care quality and safety recommendation that providers be required to favour direct employment.

However, the Productivity Commission suggests the proportion of agency workers and independent contractors "appears low", and notes that according to the 2020 Workforce Census, the "vast majority" of care workers are either in permanent positions or are casuals/contractors on the payroll of aged care providers.

"Only 3% of the total aged care workforce were agency/subcontractor workers in 2020, with most in allied health occupations", and just 1% of the nurses and personal care workforce were agency/subcontractor workers...

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