May 05, 2023

Australian Government to identify aged care providers not providing wage increase

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The $11.3 billion wage boost was announced in the recent budget and is forecast to entice 10,000 more workers to the sector.

The Australian government has announced a new plan to name and shame aged care providers who do not pass on the full 15% wage increase to their employees. The initiative is aimed at increasing transparency around pay for aged care workers, who have been grappling with chronic staff shortages, high workloads and low pay.

The $11.3 billion wage boost was announced in the recent budget and is forecast to entice 10,000 more workers to the sector. 

Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells, said to the Sydney Morning Herald that the workforce shortage is the number one issue in aged care, and many more staff are needed to fulfil the promise of more care minutes and around-the-clock nurses. The total package for aged care wages, including indexation, leave entitlements and superannuation, will come in at $14.1 billion over the next four years.

While the budget commitment to cover the pay rise awarded last year by the Fair Work Commission was broadly welcomed, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation criticised the government for failing to make the funding conditional upon providers passing it on in full, as they have promised. 

The federation’s federal secretary, Annie Butler, said that trust is not enough, and without accountability mechanisms, the money never actually gets into workers’ pockets.

This comes after the ‘Historic’ financial pledge to aged care confirmed in the Federal Budget this week.

The following are some key measures the Australian government has implemented to increase the pay rates of aged care workers and ensure transparency in the sector:

  • Although the government subsidies the aged care sector to provide quality care for elderly citizens, it does not directly fund the incomes of aged care workers.
  • Aged care workers can verify whether they are receiving the pay increase.
  • Starting from January 1, aged care providers must demonstrate that they are passing on the full pay rate increase in their quarterly financial reports.
  • The government will publish the pay rates of aged care workers, ensuring transparency and fairness in the sector.

Wells said that it is now the law to pay 15% above the award, and for people who are paid on things like an enterprise bargaining agreement, there is the public pressure of the transparency of this information being provided as of 1 January.

The initiative has also raised questions about how staff on enterprise agreements will know if their wage rises are being passed on in full. Lisa Fitzpatrick, the federation’s Victorian branch secretary, questioned how it will be possible for anyone to tell from the quarterly reports how much a provider received in funding and how much has flowed on to its employees.

Tom Symondson, head of the Aged and Community Care Providers Association, said “employers want the government to be clear on the dollar amount each category of staff member received as an increase “so we know what it is we’re being expected to pass on”.

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  1. I have been a trainer and assessor in aged care & disability sectors for multiple years also working on the floor of these sectors so I have seen small ideological change and a vast amount of non compliance to the variety of legislation snd industry standards. As pay increases are long over due and I am glad to see Labor introducing them I am extremely conserved to see Aged care providers getting rid of their Cert IV trained Liesure and health staff because the government has neglected to encapsulate ‘Holistic care’. It’s part of the standards and human decency to deliver care to the whole persons needs not just physical. Ironic that such a promising government has not understood this snd now profit driven aged care business is going to let some great staff go to the unemployment line. As a forever Labor devote please re look asap into this and cover our wonderful holistic care workers and fund qualified leisure and health staff.

  2. I am a home care worker level 3, work for a huge aged care organisation, when I asked about the pay increase they suddenly have gone silent .. my emails left unanswered and all I asked is when my pay will increase and by how much? They are happy to recruit me out yet they ignore the pay rises and all the lies promised when I first joined .. now this agency is huge so Ofcourse they would know especially only days a way to the increase … this is the reason that aged care staff are leaving because of corrupt companies like this one .. I will take it further obviously if my pay won’t increase and leave this industry unfortunately as after all we do .. this is the thanks!! So over it

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