May 29, 2023

Care sector economy plan needs stronger super entitlements for gig workers

Gig workers are independent contractors whose work is usually temporary or on-call which include some healthcare, aged care and disability support workers. [Source:Shutterstock]

The Federal Government is developing a National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy to ensure they can provide sustainable, high-quality care and support for Australians into the future and it wants your say.

Public consultation on the strategy draft is now open and the Government is encouraging carers, those who work in any aged care setting and aged care consumers to chime in on the draft.

The Strategy is aimed to focus holistically on improving the quality of care and support jobs within four key sectors – aged care, veterans’ care, disability support and care and early childhood education.

Health and community services superannuation fund, HESTA, made a recent submission to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations’ ‘Employee-like’ Forms of Work’ consultation which outlined that part of this future planning needs to include legislative changes to further support gig workers, warning that missing out on super leaves these workers vulnerable to poverty later in life.

HESTA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Debby Blakey, said these workers already faced significant hurdles in achieving financial security in retirement.

“Given the critical services provided across the care economy, we think there needs to be a focus on ensuring we carefully consider the impacts of the growth in gig work across the economy, particularly in health and community services.”

HESTA submitted three recommendations:

  1. That legislation expressly includes compulsory employer Super Guarantee (SG) contributions as a minimum standard available to workers in ‘employee-like’ arrangements
  2. That the Government pursue additional legislation reforms to entitle gig workers to payment of the superannuation guarantee
  3. That the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) enhance its superannuation guarantee compliance activities for gig workers in ‘employee-like’ arrangements

As we face an ageing population and more care workers enter the gig economy, the Government acknowledged the industry will be fundamental in providing jobs while ensuring these vulnerable Australians will receive the high-quality services they need.

“To do this, we need to hear from those directly impacted by it. I encourage people to have their say on the draft Strategy so we can ensure it reflects the needs of the community.”

Have your say on the National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy draft through the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s website.

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