Aged-care workers win pay rises of up to 28 per cent

Aged care workers are awaiting a decision on a major pay rise.

Aged care workers are awaiting a decision on a major pay rise. Photo: AAP

Aged-care staff are poised to get a wage rise of up to 28 per cent after the Fair Work Commission handed down a landmark decision for the sector.

More than 100,000 indirect employees in the sector will enjoy a wage boost after the Health Services Union lodged an application for a 25 per cent across-the-board increase in 2020.

Personal carers will get an increase of 18-28 per cent, home-care staff will get a rise of 15-26 per cent and there will be a 6.8 per cent increase for those involved in support services under the commission’s decision, delivered on Friday.

The commission awarded an interim 15 per cent pay rise to direct-care employees at the end of 2022, with the industrial umpire saying this was plainly justified by work-value reasons.

Since then, the union has continued to push for a comprehensive increase for all staff.

HSU national president Gerard Hayes said it was a historic improvement for those working in the sector – and one of the best outcomes the union had ever achieved.

“[This decision] will usher in a new era of decency and dignity in our aged-care homes,” he said.

“For the last decade, aged care has been held together by the goodwill and commitment of a severely underpaid, insecurely employed workforce.

“Today those workers have won wage justice.”

Since coming into office, the federal government has backed pay rises for those on low and award wages, as well as funding increases for aged care staff.

The FWC decision will be finalised after submissions from the interested parties, with the phasing-in schedule still to be decided.

The higher recommended wages include the 15 per cent rise for direct-care workers.

Economists have also backed the push for higher wages in the sector.

“In our view, the benefits of improving pay and conditions in undervalued, low paid, female-dominated care sectors – including better attraction and retention of workers – outweigh the costs of any marginal inflationary effect of a one-off bump in the wage price index,” ANZ’s Catherine Birch said in November.

Catholic Health Australia called on the government to fully fund the rise expected to come from Friday’s decision.

“We strongly support the claim to raise the wages of dedicated, compassionate and hardworking staff, especially as cost of living pressures mount,” director Laura Haylen said.

“The federal government must deliver on its commitment to fully fund these wage rises as soon as possible, including any leave entitlements. We believe that we can work together to ensure staff are paid as quickly as possible without diverting existing funds from quality care and support.”

Anglicare Australia also backed the decision, and urged the government to stand by a commitment to fund the wage rises.

“A strong workforce is well trained and skilled. Wages must reflect this,” Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said.

“That’s why this decision is an important step for the sector – and the older Australians who rely on us for care.

“Aged-care workers across the country will be applauding this news, which will make the workforce stronger and help it support older people.

-with AAP

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.