Aged Care

Aged care sector faces pay rise implementation uncertainty


Aged care workers, including support staff like laundry hands, cleaners and food service assistants, are set to receive a pay rise following a recent decision by the Fair Work Commission.

The pay increase, ranging from 13.3 per cent to 28.5 per cent, depending on the level of the employee, aims to recognise the value of their work.

According to Ryan Price, head of content and training at Employsure, the reported 28.5 per cent increase isn’t entirely accurate. The increase varies based on the employee’s level, with some receiving a boost of up to 28.5 per cent, including the previous 15 per cent raise. This adjustment reflects the relative complexity of the work, setting new benchmark rates for personal care and home care workers with a Cert III qualification.

Price emphasises the need for careful consideration of the decision’s impact, urging providers to seek professional advice. He notes that the pay rise comes at a challenging time for small businesses in the care sector, which is already strained by previous increases.

“While the figure of a 28.5 percent increase is being circulated, it isn’t entirely accurate. The increases range from between 13.3 percent to 28.5 percent, inclusive of the previous 15 percent depending on the level of an employee,” Price explained.

“What the Commission has really done is try to increase the value and reorganize it around the concept of relative complexity, much the same way they have in the past by using relativity to a qualified tradie in construction and other industries.”

“It’s important to carefully consider the impact of these cases and make sure you are seeking professional advice about what they mean for you and your business,” he added.

The decision comes amidst a backdrop of significant challenges facing the aged care sector, with the Fair Work Commission delaying a decision on when the changes will take effect. This uncertainty adds to the strain felt by industry workers, leaving them uncertain about when the adjustments will be implemented.

“The Fair Work Commission have delayed a decision on when these changes will take effect, which leaves anyone working in the industry with a sword of Damocles hanging over their head wondering when it will fall,” Price remarked.

“The Federal Government have asked the Commission to hold off on their decision for four weeks while they consider their position on this as part of the budget process. We will be keeping our fingers crossed that this means that they are considering assistance for business in the sector to soften the blow.”

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.

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