Hospital cleaners like Linda Morrison can now afford to put new tyres on the car or take their kids to the movies.
And they finally feel respected.
Ms Morrison, 63, is one of almost 150 cleaners at Canberra Hospital rewarded with a bonus after having their pay frozen for almost five years.
"The cleaners haven't had a pay rise since June 2012," she said.
"There's been a lot of pressure on the workers as the cost of living rises.
"But to be given this bonus is like winning the lottery. It's like we have been respected."
Ms Morrison has worked at the hospital for nearly eight years and was one of the United Voice delegates who negotiated the bonus with ACT Health.
They have agreed to pay the cleaners, currently earning around $21 an hour, a 5.5 per cent bonus based on their yearly income between 2013 and 2016.
The national minimum wage is currently pegged at $17.70 an hour.
Ms Morrison said many of the staff would use the bonus to pay for living essentials or small treats for their children.
"We've been struggling with a low income for a long time," she said.
"We've had people making comments like, 'Now I can finally pay my car's registration'.
"Or people talking about how they can finally take their children to the movies."
It was easy to forget just how important cleaners were in the running of a hospital, she said.
"Cleaning is hard work, but it needs to be done and we are dealing with a lot of nasty things.
"We are not just cleaners, we are cleaning a hospital."
Ms Morrison said cleaning staff at the hospital now have their eyes on negotiating a permanent pay rise through collective bargaining with ACT Health.
United Voice ACT branch secretary Lyndal Ryan said staff should feel proud of their bargaining efforts.
"We are really happy the cleaners have managed to get a bit of a bonus and some respect as well," she said.
"They are obviously grateful, and they achieved it for themselves."
A spokesman for ACT Health confirmed the deal and said the department had been pleased to offer an initial five-year contract to ISS Health Services, beginning February 11.
"ISS Cleaners play an important role at Canberra Hospital and across our health facilities," the spokesman said.
"They provide a valuable service across all hospital wards, operating theatres, patient waiting areas, patient treatment rooms and other general areas inside and outside the hospital campus."