The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) supports calls for further pay rises for aged care workers by parties to the Fair Work Commission work value case, describing it as a critical step towards alleviating the prevailing workforce crisis affecting the delivery of high-quality aged care services.
The push for additional pay increases follows the Fair Work Commission’s awarding of an interim 15% rise late last year after ACWIC brought together unions, aged care providers and consumers to develop the sector’s consensus statement on the value of work in aged care.
Libby Lyons, Chair of ACWIC, said that fair pay for aged care workers is fundamental to attracting and retaining workers to provide quality of care for older Australians.
“This is about the provision of person-centred care that meets the expectations of our community. It is not possible to provide the kind of care we want and in fact need for our parents, our partner, or ourselves, if we do not recognise, in financial terms, the value of the work that is delivered by the broad suite of these essential workers.
“We are experiencing a workforce crisis in aged care. Many aged care workers are struggling to make ends meet and are likely to consider leaving if wages and other conditions do not improve.
“Without an adequate workforce in all the roles that support the physical, social and emotional well-being of older people, we simply cannot meet the needs of our ageing population. This includes kitchen, laundry, recreation activities and administrative staff, along with direct care workers” she said.
Lyons said that ACWIC wholeheartedly supports the recent changes to the Fair Work Act and submissions to the FWC that support the elimination of gender-based wage discrimination.
“Improving wages in sectors that have historically undervalued women’s work will help to narrow the gender pay gap. This is especially important in aged care, where nine out of 10 employees are women.
“We will continue to work with Government to address the critical shortage of aged care workers, and to equip the aged care workforce to deliver the care that older people, their families and carers expect.”
Media release from the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC). Note: Content has been edited for style and length.