Aug 08, 2022

Pay rise for aged care workers will be substantial, according to Government

Pay rise for aged care workers will be substantial, according to Government

Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells, has said that the Federal Government will be advocating for a substantial wage rise for aged care workers this week.

Both Minister Wells and Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler, made a submission to the ongoing Work Value Case, which is before the Fair Work Commission (FWC), on Monday.

Aged care unions, who brought about the Work Value Case, have been pushing for the aged care wage to be increased by 25%, which would put workers into a better financial position and encourage industry retention.

The Labor Government has already committed to paying for the outcome of the FWC case and the aged care sector wanted to see the Government cover that cost of the wage increase to ensure providers are not financially impacted.

Minister Wells told Sky News that the Government will be supportive of a “significant and meaningful” pay increase for aged care workers.

“The complexity of their work has increased significantly, not just through COVID in the past two years particularly, but in the last decade,” said Minister Wells.

However, Shadow Minister for Finance, Jane Hume, said she believes that any increases to worker wages should be “sustainable”. 

While she agreed that aged care pay should be increased, Ms Hume said that unions were being allowed to push their own agenda.

Ms Hume told Sky News Australia, “The unions have put forward a 25% pay claim – the Government looks like it will support that claim as it seems to have done with all union requests.

“It does seem to be that Labor is taking the side of the union in any claim that is made.

“The Coalition has always said this is a decision for the Fair Work Commission.”

Ms Hume added that she has also questioned whether the wage increase will be “passed on to residents” and “ordinary Australians” who are about to go into aged care.

“That the aged care system can stand up under the weight of that increased cost to their businesses.”

This FWC case is not a part of the recent increase to the national minimum wage and Modern Day Award wage that saw the base rate of some aged care workers increasing, by 5.2% and 4.6% respectively.

Unions advocating for 25% increase

Aged care worker union, the United Workers Union (UWU), said that the submission being made by the Federal Government to increase wages for aged care workers was a “crucial step to restoring a functioning aged care sector”.

UWU is one of the unions that is pushing for a substantial 25% increase to the aged care worker wage.

Carolyn Smith, Aged Care Director for UWU, said the union welcomed the Labor Government’s commitment to funding any recommended pay rise by the FWC.

“There is a wave of workers who are emotionally and physically exhausted and they are leaving the industry for good,” said Ms Smith.

CEDA estimates 65,000 workers are leaving the industry each year, resulting in an annual shortfall of 35,000 workers.

“The Federal Government’s commitment to a significant, meaningful pay rise for aged care workers is necessary to stop aged care workers rushing for the door.

“A pay rise alongside increased care time for aged care residents and increased aged care worker numbers are promised Federal Government reforms that offer aged care workers hope after years of neglect.”

“If aged care workers see their work is valued, if they see they have enough time to care for residents, and they no longer have to exhaust themselves covering endless understaffing, then they will see a future in aged care,” explained Ms Smith.

“The Federal Government’s commitment to aged care was on show last week when the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, the Health and Aged Care Minister, Mark Butler, and the Aged Care Minister, Anika Wells, all made time to meet with aged care workers in Canberra.

“Aged care workers were in tears when they saw their concerns were being listened to and acted on the floor of the Parliament.”

Providers welcome wage increase

Aged and Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA), industry peak body, has welcomed the recent submission to the FWC case by the Government.

While the size of the wage increase has not been nominated by the Government in its submission, Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ACCPA, Paul Sadler, says the submission reaffirms the Labor Government’s commitment to fully funding the outcome of the case.

“We are also pleased the Government supports a staged implementation of any wage increase which would be determined by the Fair Work Commission consulting with the parties to the case,” says Mr Sadler said.

“ACCPA supports higher wages and improved working conditions for aged care staff working across the sector including home and community care, and residential aged care.

“The Work Value Case is a first step towards improving wages and conditions for those aged care workers receiving award wages.”

With ongoing workforce shortages in the sector, Mr Sadler added that making aged care more attractive through better pay is really critical.

Mr Sadler is also keen to collaborate with the Government on how the new Australian National  Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding model for residential aged care and the future Support at Home program will work with the new Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority.

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  1. I absolutely agree aged care workers need a pay raise . However Is the government going to increase the home care package level 1 to 4 dollar amounts. With higher pay hourly rate and now the minimum 2 hour shift, will mean the dollars in the current home care package will be stretched and that means less hours of direct care will be offered to a person on an home care package

    1. The amount of money clients get are swallowed up by case management , travel and in home visits not by the home care workers. Fees are way to high

  2. When will licenced professional nurses receive their pay rise. The rates of pay for qualified nurses are atrocious and do not reflect nurses skill base and responsibilities.

  3. Good morning
    I am a Housekeeper in aged care and I would like to know if I am included in any pay rise that is granted for aged care

  4. When can we expect a ruling from fairwork on the 25% pay increase and will it be instant or in increments. The government has stated it will pay for rise. There is a serious need for a review of pricings that community care providers are charging to clients packages as there is certainly a lot of price gouging that occurs.

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