Jul 03, 2023

The aged care pay rise – what you need to know

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Aged care workers are celebrating the historic 15% pay rise, but is it good news for everyone? [Source: Shutterstock]

The 15% aged care pay rise is here, but what does that mean for you? Will you receive more money in your next payslip, or are you likely to miss out? HelloCare has the answers to your burning questions. 

What is the aged care pay rise?

  • Last November, the Fair Work Commission confirmed it would raise some aged care workers wages by 15%
  • After some deliberation, it was announced that the Government would pass on the pay rise in full – not in staggered amounts – from June 30, 2023
  • The Government also committed $11.1 billion to the pay rise in the 2023 Budget
  • Initial calls for a 25% increase are yet to be answered as the FWC has not determined whether the full work value claim will be passed on

Who will receive the pay rise?

The aged care pay rise will primarily benefit direct care workers in residential aged care and home care settings, as long as they are covered by the:

  • Nurses Award (Nursing Assistants/AIN, Enrolled Nurses, Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners working in aged care) 
  • Aged Care Award (Personal care workers/PCWs), recreation/lifestyle activities officers and the most senior food services employee (Levels 4-7)
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry (SCHADS) Award (home care workers) 

The pay rise covers the base rate for full-time workers plus the rates for part-time and casual workers.

Carolyn Smith, United Workers Union Aged Care Director, said the pay rise is long overdue recognition for aged care workers who are often undervalued and underpaid.

“The 15% pay increase won in the work-value case brought by the Health Services Union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and United Workers Union gives these workers the respect they have deserved for so long,” Ms Smith said.

“When aged care workers were working double shifts in sweltering heat at the height of the Omicron crisis in February last year, the whole aged care system was in crisis and 75% of our members surveyed said they intended to leave the sector.”

Support staff such as cleaners, administration and gardeners/maintenance workers, are not included in the 15% pay rise. The FWC is yet to decide on whether increases will be passed on to all aged care workers or not.

When will your pay go up?

As per the FWC, your pay rate will increase from the first full pay period on or after June 30, 2023.

How much of a pay rise will you receive?

Eligible award-based aged care workers will see their hourly rate increase by more than 20% as a result of the combined impact of the aged care pay rise and national minimum wage increase. 

The United Workers Union (UWU) has provided several examples of how this might look after surveying over 1800 residential aged care workers. UWU found that:

  • 77% of respondents were on award rates of between $22.67-$24.76 which translates to weekly pay rises of between $186-$203 
  • Annually, a full-time aged care worker can expect to earn between $9,700 and $10,600 more per year for a full-time salary of between $54,000 and $59,500
  • However, an average aged care worker working 30 hours a week can expect to see their salary increase to between $43,000 and $47,000 per year

In addition, the Government has provided several examples of its own:

  • A Level 2 Enrolled Nurse previously received $31.12 under an EBA, but will now receive $34.96 with the additional 15% pay rise
  • Meanwhile, a Registered Nurse on Level 2 previously received $47.13 per hour, but their pay will increase to $52.38
  • Finally, a Level 2 home care worker will see their pay increase by $3.64, rising from $28.19 to $31.83

To find your exact pay guide, visit the FWC website. 

What about the minimum wage increase?

Under the Annual Wage Review, the national minimum wage increased on July 1, 2023, rising by 5.75%. As a result, the national minimum wage has improved to $23.23 per hour, up from $21.38. The increase is applicable from an employee’s first full pay period starting on or after July 1, 2023. The Annual Wage Review is an additional increase which means some aged care staff are looking at a 20% or more increase in their hourly rate.

However, as support workers within the industry will not receive anything more than a minimum wage increase, UWU has called for their future inclusion in the 15% increase.

“Anyone who has walked into an aged care facility knows how vital support workers are in terms of providing quality care, and we expect the Fair Work Commission to reflect that in its decision,” Ms Smith said.

“A level 2 cleaner on the award can expect to see their wage increase by $1.36 an hour, or an extra $52 a week under the 5.75% award-based increase. While that’s much better than what the bosses were asking for in the minimum wage case, the wages of these essential workers in aged care are not keeping up with inflation and these workers are falling further behind.”

What about employees on an Elective Bargaining Agreement?

Aged care workers paid under an EBA could see a 15% increase in their wages as aged care employers will still receive the additional funding regardless of an EBA being in place. However, not all providers are required to pass on the full 15% if their staff earn above award rate. The Government has asked providers to seek additional guidance as to whether they will or will not have to pass it on.

If you are under an EBA, it’s recommended you compare your EBA rate to your relevant award rate as you should receive the higher of the two.

Are you unsure about your pay rise?

If you have any additional questions it’s best to speak with your provider directly. The Fair Work Commission also has all the relevant information, and you can contact them or your union if your provider cannot answer your questions. 

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  1. I’m an AIN in aged care for 17 years working in private sector. We have been told that because we receive above award wages already being $25.50 ph that we won’t see much difference to our pay.. is this the case

  2. Having heard for months about this increase to all aged care workers and now read the final report sorry to say it sucks. I am a maintenance worker of which in most homes there is only 1 person maybe 2 or 3 at the very most depending on size. To read this — Support staff such as cleaners, administration and gardeners/maintenance workers, are not included in the 15% pay rise —. I can tell you that during the pandemic most maintenance workers did more than normal and still do in general as companies would not visit aged care sites unless it was a safety concern. The above people not getting the rise also left aged care due to the poor salaries being offered. You really need to get on the ground floor and see what really goes on. I was 1 maintenance guy servicing all floors of a 130 resident property with stock and removing clinical waste etc. as well as trying to do my normal job. Aged care is a massive business these days and each and every person is as important as the next to make these home run smoothly.

    1. I totally hear you David. I am in the kitchen as KA and we are both in the same boat! His can they really discriminate who is entitled to receive the 15% increase. As you said these facilities couldn’t operate without you, without their meals together I provide or the laundry staff who clean their sheets every single day! It’s a cop out to just Band-Aid the whole aged care problem. So so sad isn’t it.

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