The Fair Work Commission has made an interim decision for an increase to minimum wages of at least 15 per cent for aged care workers in direct care roles on a number of different awards.
The Commission has announced a further process to consider timing, possible further increases for these workers, and whether to also grant a pay rise for aged care administrative and support staff.
Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said, “Better wages will lead to better staffing and better care.”
Our Government promised to fight for a pay rise for Australia’s aged care workers and we did. We made a submission to the Fair Work Commission in August that unequivocally supported a wage increase.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended the Government contribute to this union-initiated work value case. Unlike the previous Liberal and National government, we delivered.
The Government’s submission also made it clear we would fund an increase to award wages – and we will.
We’re fighting for a better future for aged care workers and older Australians.
If we don’t start paying them properly we won’t be able to attract and retain enough staff to care for our loved ones as our population ages.
Our Government is committed to stopping the neglect in the aged care sector – putting security, dignity and humanity back into the aged care system for workers and older Australians.
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Tony Burke said that the government is committed to getting wages moving again, particularly in low-paid female-dominated industries.
“Aged care work is hard work – but it’s undervalued work. This result is the first step in changing that,” Burke added.
Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells also said, “We need to bring workers back to the aged care sector and fill the staff shortages caused by nine years of neglect.
“One of the main causes of the gender pay gap is low pay and poor conditions in care sectors like aged care, where the majority of workers are women. Increasing wages in aged care is essential to ensuring that men and women are paid equally,” Wells concluded.
The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) has welcomed the decision of the Fair Work Commission in the aged care Work Value case and has called for further wage increases.
Interim CEO, Sarah McLelland, acknowledged that this is the first step in the decision process for the Commission.
“This interim pay increase of 15% for direct care workers is a positive step, but it’s not enough. We keenly await the next announcement from the FWC to ensure that workers are adequately recognised for the essential work they do.
“Aged care workers have routinely gone above and beyond, continuing to deliver care through trying circumstances, and their work should be properly valued.
“ACWIC is firmly committed to improving outcomes for aged care workers so that they feel valued and supported to deliver consistently high-quality care to older Australians.
“Support and administration staff must also be included, as they are central to the provision of safe, person-centred care.
“ACWIC facilitated the sector’s consensus statement in 2021 which informed the Commission’s decision. We will continue to work with the sector and government to support the implementation of this vital recommendation from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
“We recognise that increasing wages is not the only solution to attracting and retaining aged care workers. ACWIC has a range of initiatives aimed at addressing this issue, including the development of a best practice program for the aged care sector. The best practice program will share best practice and build cultures of continuous improvement. This will enhance attraction and retention of workers to provide the care and support older people want and deserve,” she said.