The Morrison government has directed the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into the potential impact of providing all employees unpaid carers’ leave when caring for senior Australians living at home.

The study will also examine employment models across the aged care sector.

The inquiry is in response to recommendations made by the royal commission into aged care quality and safety in its final report.

“Informal carers are a critical element of the care system for older people,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a joint statement with Aged Care Minister Greg Hunt and Aged Care Services Minister Richard Colbeck.

“Partners, children and other relatives not only provide care but help seniors maintain their social and community connections.”

They said while the carer payment and carer allowance were available to people who spent considerable time providing informal care, carers may be forced to choose between their caring role and their jobs or careers.

“The Productivity Commission inquiry will help us better understand whether unpaid leave would improve carers’ wellbeing and make it easier for them to maintain the care relationship,” they said.

The wider examination of employment models is in response to the royal commission, which proposed aged care services have policies and procedures to directly employ workers where possible, rather than use contractors.

“The study will underline the impact of different employment models on the quality of care delivered to older Australians,” they said.

The commission will be required to provide a final report on the inquiry into leave for informal carers by early 2023 and the study into employment models by September 2022.

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