Austrian workers can get up to three months of paid leave a year to care for elderly relatives, while Japanese carers can take the same for each family member and Italians get 36 days a year. But in Australia, employees are only entitled to 10 days of carer’s leave for each year of employment.
Research commissioned by the aged care royal commission says boosting leave provisions and financial support for family and friends who provide informal care is a “key area” for improvement, amid a push to keep more Australians out of nursing homes.
The Flinders University report found Australia has a relatively high number of informal carers when compared with other OECD countries, with about 28 per cent of Australians over 65 receiving care from family and friends. In Germany, about 17.5 per cent of older people receive informal care, compared with 18.4 per cent in England, 13.4 per cent in Sweden and 1.1 per cent in Denmark.
“We believe that Australia could provide higher levels of support for informal carers, which is important in helping older people to remain living in the community, in their own homes,” Flinders University senior research fellow Dr Suzanne Dyer said.