Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the $353 million state government package ahead of what authorities are expecting to be “the busiest winter yet” for healthcare workers, due to high numbers of cases of flu and COVID-19.
Andrews said the Healthcare Worker Winter Retention and Surge payment was designed to incentivise workers to take on extra shifts amid staff shortages, as well as to recognise the hard work health care workers are doing.
“This is all about encouraging people to take up a few extra shifts if they can, go from being part-time to maybe working some further hours,” he said.
The government will also offer free meals to healthcare workers who work overnight from July until the end of 2022.
To be eligible for the payment workers will need to be employed by a public health service by July 1 and still be employed on September 30.
The payments will be made in two rounds, one after August 15 and one after September 30.
Those who start between July 1 and September 30 will be eligible for a pro-rata payment, providing an added incentive to help attract more staff to our public hospitals.
There are 49,347 known active cases of COVID-19 in the state.