However, the decision has also raised concerns about funding, with some in the industry worried that the sector will not be able to afford a pay rise.
The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) has praised the decision of the Fair Work Commission to include head chefs and recreational activities officers, along with direct care workers, in a 15% interim wage increase for aged care workers to commence from 30 June 2023.
Deputy Chair of ACWIC, Graeme Prior, acknowledged that progress is being made on improving wages for aged care workers, but added that more needs to be done.
“There are still other aged care workers, including support and administration staff, and other food services workers, who are not included in the wage increase. These workers are central to the provision of safe, person-centred care, and their work should be properly valued,” he said.
The Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) has also welcomed the decision but has raised concerns about funding. They are worried that the sector may not be able to afford the pay rise, which is sorely needed, but so is matched funding.
To date, the government has stated that it will fund ten per cent of the pay rise from 1 July 2023 and an additional five per cent from 1 July 2024.
ACCPA CEO Tom Symondson said that now that the Fair Work Commission has decided to implement the pay rise in one go, it is critical that the Government revisits its position on funding.
“With seven out of every ten aged care providers already losing an average of $21 per resident per day, this decision of the Commission changes everything.
“We have publicly supported the need for significant pay-rises for our workforce and fully supported the government’s 2022 election commitment to fully fund them. However, this must not be at the cost of our sector’s ability to deliver care to older Australians. We continue to engage with the Government to find a workable solution,” Symondson said.