Bonuses paid by the government to retain Tasmanian registered nurses in the aged care sector is recognition of the poor wages they are paid, the state's nurses union says.
Under a new federal government scheme, nurses who work for the same aged care provider full-time for at least 12 months are eligible for a $3700 bonus payment.
Part-time nurses can receive a $2700 payment.
Some nurses may be eligible for another $2300 payment if they work in a rural or remote area, hold a postgraduate qualification, or take on additional leadership or training responsibilities in their workplace.
Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck said the payments were an acknowledgement of the extraordinary work performed by nurses in a challenging environment.
But Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Emily Shepherd said the payments also recognised industry wages were not high enough to retain staff.
"The ANMF welcomes this initiative from government to implement retention bonuses for nurses working in the aged care industry," she said.
"But this initiative only goes to highlight the gross under remuneration of nurses working within the aged care industry."
Ms Shepherd said the government should request the Fair Work Commission to start a process to change the aged care award to make sure workers were paid wages that would ensure ongoing retention.
'By implementing this bonus, the government has recognised that wages in the industry are not sufficient to retain qualified staff to ensure safe quality care is delivered to the elderly in residential aged care," she said.
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.