Aged Care

Aged care support staff seek equal pay rise


Aged care workers in crucial roles such as catering, cleaning, laundry and maintenance are rallying for acknowledgment of their pivotal contributions to the quality of aged care.

The United Workers Union has submitted a formal request to the Fair Work Commission, urging them to grant support workers in aged care the same 15 per cent pay correction that was recently awarded to other aged care workers across the nation.

United Workers Union Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith emphasised the fundamental role that support workers play in delivering quality care to aged care residents. “Support workers are the foundation of quality care for aged care residents,” Smith stated, underscoring their often-overlooked significance in the aged care ecosystem.

These dedicated support workers are frequently the first to respond when aged care residents are in distress or require assistance. They provide comfort and aid in times of need and are a friendly presence for residents who may be feeling isolated or agitated. In some instances, a cleaner spending just 30 minutes in a room might be the most substantial interaction a resident has throughout the day. These interactions can be deeply meaningful, with residents sometimes forming close bonds with their support workers.

Smith added, “Our submission reflects the many ways these aged care workers play a vital role in the lives of aged care residents, which goes well beyond providing essential services such as quality food, clean rooms, laundry, and a well-functioning facility.”

In July, “direct care” workers, including nurses, personal care workers and Assistants in Nursing, received a 15 per cent pay increase following a work value case brought forward by unions. The Fair Work Commission ruled that their work had been undervalued for decades. However, consideration of a wage rise for aged care support workers was deferred to “stage 3” hearings, with the submission deadline set for today leading up to hearings scheduled for December.

The United Workers Union’s submission highlights the indispensable and heartwarming role support workers play in the lives of aged care residents. The anecdotes shared by these support workers underscore the deep connections they forge with residents, illustrating the profound impact of their work:

  • Natalie, Food Services, Queensland: “One particular resident loves to share and shows me her colouring pictures that she has started or completed. Now that is maybe nothing to some but means so much to her. I love seeing the end result; so amazing.”
  • Jana, Food Services, Queensland: “We all have helped residents back to rooms or if they fall.”
  • Grace, Cleaning, Queensland: “I go to work 45 minutes early every day so I can complete my work and have the time to spend time with the residents.”
  • Darren, Maintenance, Western Australia: “I have comforted and supported a resident who had a nasty fall in our outdoor courtyard prior to getting clinical attention and kept her mind off the injury she had by general conversation and making her feel comfortable.”

These heartwarming accounts serve as a testament to the vital role support workers play in enhancing the lives of aged care residents. The call for fair compensation and recognition is a resonant one, echoing across the aged care sector, as these unsung heroes continue to make a profound difference in the lives of those they serve.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Up