Dec 01, 2023

Aged care providers granted billions to help support worker wage increase

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$21.5 million has been committed for 24/7 RN supplement. [Source: Shutterstock]

The Federal Government is increasing the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) price from today to support residential aged care providers to fund the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) Annual Wage Review decision, which increases the award wage for aged care staff by 5.75%.

As part of this uplift to support the award wage rise, an additional $21.5 million has been committed for 24/7 Registered Nurse (RN) supplement funding which will also commence today.

“This money is in addition to the $11.3 billion to fund the biggest ever wage increase for aged care workers of 15%,” said Aged Care Minister Anika Wells. 

The $2.194 billion total injection will increase AN-ACC to $253.82 and account for back pay funding for the July 1– November 30 period. 

This funding ensures aged care facilities are funded to pay the increased award wages for RNs, Enrolled Nurses (ENs), Assistants in Nursing (AIN), Personal Care Workers (PCW) and Recreational Activities Officers (lifestyle workers).

From 2024, the annual price for AN-ACC will be announced in August and come into effect on October 1, giving residential aged care providers greater certainty in the Government funding they will receive each year.

The wage increase came into effect on June 30, 2023 and was applied to workers on the Aged Care Award, Nurses Award, and the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award.

In September, United Workers Union (UWU) lodged a submission with the FWC pushing for aged care support workers to receive the same 15% pay correction awarded to other aged care workers.

“Support workers are often the first worker on the scene when aged care residents are in distress or have had a fall,” Carolyn Smith, UWU Aged Care Director said.

“They are also called in when aged care residents are agitated or need a friendly face, because they sometimes have the most interaction with the resident […] A cleaner in a room for 30 minutes is sometimes the most substantial contact residents have over a whole day.”

The FWC has since recommended the Government consider wage increases for other workers in the aged care sector, such as administrative and support staff, a consideration supported by the Government.

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