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Umpire delivers 15% aged care wage rise

Aged care workers have been awarded a 15 per cent pay rise by the Fair Work Commission.

Aged care workers have been awarded a 15 per cent pay rise by the Fair Work Commission. Photo: AAP

The industrial umpire has awarded an interim 15 per cent pay rise to aged care workers.

The Fair Work Commission said on Friday the interim increase in minimum wages of the direct care classifications in the Aged Care and SCHADS Awards, and for nurses working in aged care covered by the Nurses Award, is “plainly justified by work value reasons”.

The commission full bench said the interim rise “does not conclude its consideration of the unions’ claim for a 25 per cent increase for other employees, namely administrative and support aged care employees”.

“Nor was the full bench suggesting that the 15 per cent interim increase necessarily exhausts the extent of the increase justified by work value reasons in respect of direct care aged care employees,” it said.

“Whether any further increase is justified will be the subject of submissions in stage three of these proceedings.”

Aged Care Minister Mark Butler responded to the news on Twitter, writing: “Our aged care workers are getting a pay rise!”

“We backed a wage increase for aged care workers in our submission to the Fair Work Commission and today they’ve been awarded a 15% interim wage rise,” he said.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said while aged care was hard work, it was also undervalued work.

The pay rise was the first step in changing that, he said.

“We fought for this pay rise because our government is committed to getting wages moving again – particularly in low-paid female-dominated industries like this one,” Mr Burke said in a statement.

The Health Services Union welcomed the interim pay rise, but said a larger and broader increase is needed to stem the industry’s crisis.

“This is a reasonable start but we need the commission to go further and permanently end the poverty wage settings that dominate aged care,” HSU national president Gerard Hayes said.

“Fifteen per cent is a down-payment. But nobody should be mistaken – this will not fix the crisis. We still have massive unfinished business in aged care.”

-AAP

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