Residential care leave arrangements

Page last updated: 17 November 2017

Residents who are in permanent residential aged care are entitled to take leave and their place in the aged care home is secure whilst they are on leave.

Pre-entry leave is also available to people entering residential aged care to allow them time to prepare for their entry.

Pre-entry leave

People who are entering residential aged care, or who are already in residential care and are moving to a new aged care home, can utilise seven days of pre-entry leave to secure their place in their new aged care home whilst they prepare for the move.

The only fee that can be charged during pre-entry leave is the basic daily fee. No subsidy is payable to the aged care provider for pre-entry leave.

Pre-entry leave is only available if the room is ready for the resident to occupy. 

Social leave

Residents are entitled to 52 days social leave in a financial year.  During social leave the government continues to pay the applicable level of subsidy to the aged care home on behalf of the resident and the resident’s obligation to pay fees and accommodation costs to the home continues.

To count as social leave, the absence from the home must include an overnight stay.  This means it is possible for residents to spend every weekend in the year with their family. 

A resident can use more than 52 days social leave in a year without losing their place at the home. However, as the Government does not pay a subsidy to the home for absences beyond 52 days, the aged care provider may charge the resident an additional amount equivalent to the care subsidy for any additional leave days. 

Aged care legislation does not compel aged care homes to charge residents a set amount in fees. However, it does set the maximum amount that a home can charge.  Therefore, a resident may negotiate with the home for a reduction in fees during periods of excess social leave from the home.

Hospital leave

Residents are entitled to unlimited days of hospital leave. However, if a resident is on hospital leave for a continuous period of 30 days or more, the care subsidy that the government pays to the provider is reduced by 50 per cent from day 29. The provider is not able to recoup the lost subsidy from the resident.

During hospital leave the home can continue to charge the resident the usual amount of daily fees and accommodation costs. If the hospital leave is for a continuous period of 30 days or more, the government subsidy paid to the provider reduces. The resident is not responsible for the difference in the amount the aged care home receives. The resident’s income tested fee or means-tested care fee may also be reduced as a result.

Transition care leave

Existing recipients of Australian Government funded residential care homes are able to access transition care if they are assessed as eligible. The government has created a category of leave to enable this to occur. The government subsidy continues to be paid to the original aged care provider during periods of leave for transition care.

Residents who enter transition care may continue to be charged fees by their aged care home whilst in receipt of transition care services.  This may impact on their capacity to pay fees for transition care and needs to be discussed with the transition care provider.

For residential aged care residents, after 28 consecutive days of either hospital leave or leave for transition care (which must be preceded by hospital leave), the subsidy to the aged care home is reduced by 50 per cent (from day 29 onwards).


For enquiries about aged care fees, charges and payments, email

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