Nov 07, 2022

Win for some: aged care workers receive 15% pay increase

07_11_22 wage increase

The Fair Work Commission has made an interim ruling to raise some aged care workers’ wages by 15% in an attempt to attract more workers to the sector and fix systemic problems, which has generated mixed reviews from industry key players.

The pay increase will apply to workers who directly care for people in nursing homes, but not administrative staff or lifestyle workers, including kitchen, laundry and maintenance staff.

In a decision released on Friday, the full bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) said the pay rise to the Aged Care Award, the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award (SCHADS) and the Nurses Award wages was “plainly justified by work value reasons” and would be covered by the Federal Government.

The Fair Work Commission recognised in its interim decision that care work “has been historically undervalued and the reason for that undervaluation is likely to be gender-based”.

Aged care peak bodies and unions have welcomed the decision as a good “first step” to reforming the sector in line with recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, but have concerns about whether it is enough to make impactful change.

Potential for more to be done

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) said more needs to be done to retain and recruit staff to the under-resourced sector, but were pleased the FWC clarified that more could be done.

The Health Services Union launched the ‘work value’ case with the FWC to see a 25% increase for aged care workers, and the ANMF backed them.

“Whilst the ANMF had sought a 25% increase to minimum rates across the board for all relevant aged care employees, this interim pay increase now paves the way for us to keep advocating to get the very best wages aged care workers deserve,” ANMF Assistant Federal Secretary, Lori-Anne Sharp, said.

“The ANMF and its members have been fighting long and hard to improve pay and conditions in a severely undervalued industry… Aged care workers are predominately female and some of the lowest-paid workers in the country.”

Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells, said this pay increase was “essential” to ensure men and women were being paid equally in Australia. 

“One of the main causes of the gender pay gap is low pay and poor conditions in care sectors like aged care, where the majority of workers are women,” she said. 

“We need to bring workers back to the aged care sector and fill the staff shortages caused by nine years of neglect.”

Some staff missing out

Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tom Symondson, said this wage increase decision was key to achieving successful aged care reform but hoped future industry announcements would provide benefits to the aged care workers who missed out this time. 

“We note the decision does not cover staff not involved in direct care such as kitchen, laundry, recreation activities and administrative staff, and we look forward to a further decision by the Commission which addresses their pay,” said Mr Symondson.

“We look forward to working with the relevant unions and the Government on the implementation and timing of this important decision so that funding from the Government flows at the same time as the pay increase.

“This decision also helps recognise the incredible value that aged care workers provide to older people.”

National Seniors’ Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke, added that improving wages was “critical to attracting and retaining staff”, following estimates from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) which suggested 65,000 workers leave the aged care sector each year.

“This interim decision to award a 15% increase is a good first step on the road to fixing staffing problems,” Mr Henschke explained.

“The safety of older Australians receiving care depends on a quality workforce with sufficient workers to meet the goals to improve the hours of care.”

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler, agreed that better wages will lead to better staffing and a better level of care. 

“The Government delivered on its commitment to make a submission on this case and we will fund the outcome,” he said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described aged care workers as heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic when he took to social media to announce the pay increase.

“These workers are the heroes of the pandemic,” Mr Albanese wrote on Twitter.

“They deserve this.”

As this is an interim outcome of the Fair Work case for aged care wage increases, it is likely more changes will be made in the new year.

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  1. this is unfair, i have worked overtime and doing laundry helping in the kitchen but i am a admin worker, i dont get leave loading nor do i get paid overtime and i am not on a salary so why is it that the carers who do their job then just go home with out doing extra are always being rewarded.

    1. Betty. Unless you work in a very small care home I have never known admin to get their hands dirtier than changing the ink in a printer. When staff are told to work in areas that are not in their job description they should say no! As an AIN of 10 yrs we have to help with kitchen delivery and serving meals from the bainmarie which should be the catering’s job as it takes the carers away from the very complicated task of supervising mostly dementia residents who have so many behaviors I cannot begin to explain! Not to mention when laundry are short staffed and we have needed to assist with putting loads
      of washing on and coming back to take the washing out and even folding the washing to take onto our wards! The issue in the sector is that the companies will not hire more staff. They hire as little staff as they can get away with. Some Aged Care facilities have been taking advantage of the staff for years and unless ratios are brought in for all sectors a $4 increase will not suffice to keep the business of looking after the elderly any better. Due to the fact we have a revolving door of foureign visa card holders working in every section of the Aged Care sector who are not in a union it never gets any better. This is where the Aged Care industry gets away with so much. Staff working in areas that are not in their job description. I stay back up to an hour every morning finishing my progress notes etc etc for no extra pay and so do the other night shift RNs as we only have I RN on Night shift for 120 residents and a skeleton staff of AINs. Yes all staff deserve a pay rise but then if laundry or kitchen staff end up with the same or similar rate of pay as AINs then I may as well work in a laundry!

    2. By the way. We have had AINs work in administration as well when they are short staffed. At least you don’t have to wear all that PPE when going from shower to shower. Hot unbearably sweaty masks, plastic shields and long-sleeved aprons. Yes we have had Covid in our facility for the last 3 weeks. Maybe you should get yourself onto the wards to see what the AINs really do!

    3. Some of them get bribed with gift cards nurses and carers. Hmmmm plus the extra to that p me off to the max ie 150 bucks

  2. Yes I agree that our workforce should be acknowledged for all their hard work but in a small organisation staff at all levels, including admin staff and managers, have to go out and do face to face services for clients. These staff will not be recognized in this pay increase for their hard work and dedication. Once again it is like the work force retention bonuses which caused friction amongst the staff when all the staff do the hard work but only a some get recognized.

  3. Hi Hello Care,
    ” Some Aged Care Workers” wages will rise 15% . Really ? How does Gov define
    ” Some workers” ? To me a Care Worker is a Care Worker – it’s a Worker that provides care, that works , gets paid, provides Care with PADLs in RAC , TCP and Community Care. A worker who gives all to Residents/ Clients and has not much left for own family or self for that matter. How is that Some will get it and Some will not ? Sincerely Anna

  4. I am appalled re this decision to only award nurses and carers. Do they realise all aged care workers provide direct care. Service staff have to provide nutritous food and beverages, they take trays to the residents, set up the residents, pour out the cups of tea/coffee, hot milk on cereals, open the curtains/blinds, clean the rooms, talk to the residents, launder the residents clothing, maintain the rooms, repair broken items, tune in TV’s, fix the Wifi, empty the rubbish – if none of this happens aged care would not able to exist. Leisure and Lifestyle staff look after the residents mental health, take them to function, organise pastoral carers, liaise with families re the needs of their loved ones. Everyone’s workload has increased tenfold since Covid and none of the Service Staff, Maintenance, Leisure and Lifestyle staff and Administration have been acknowledged in any way. It’s always about nurses and carers. This decision will increase the division between care staff and all other staff. Again this is appalling and doesn’t support or encourage people to join aged care.

  5. Again a complete lack of understanding of Aged care by various governments and their fixation of Aged care as a predominantly “medical” model.
    I would recommend that the fair work commission and the politicians do a basic cause in understanding dementia. As an RN to disregard our lifestyle , admin and ancillary staff is dumb! dumb ! dumb.!
    Have you not read the royal commission report???????

  6. As a Residential Care Manager of a small family orientated, rural aged care facility, I would hope that the remaining staff are well catered for with an increase in wage. Small facilities such as ours does not have the resources such as the corporate companies, to have staff working behind the scene to complete all the quarterly reports that is now required following the Royal Commission.
    Attracting new staff to rural areas is extremely difficult with inadequate wages and shortage of housing to accommodate the new staff.
    Each and every member of staff have contact with our residents on a daily bases, whether it be cleaners, maintenance, administration or the cooks from the kitchen.
    We all work together to ensure our residents are happy and their needs are met.

  7. Wow!! How unfair!!! Only the people who care directly?? As far as im concerned if you work in aged care you work in aged care regardless if you are kitchen, laundry or lifestyle!!! How do they think prople get fed? Get there clothes and bedding washed? Do they do activities on there own!? This is absolutely abhorrent! Open your eyes we all work in AGED CARE!! At least give everyone what they deserve!!!

  8. It’s astounding to see providers in the sector celebrating a 15% rise as such a huge step forward.
    To place it in context, someone earning $22 an hour will now earn another $3.10 per hour. The age care sector had to be pushed by the Fair Work Commission into paying these workers a miniscule increase. At no time have they been proactive in recognising the value of these workers. Now there is a whole lot of self congratulatory back-slapping as they give these workers small change that wouldn’t even buy a cup of coffee!

  9. Bad luck for the small not for profits who struggle to find staff.

    Thought is was bad enough that the nurses get there Bachelor paid for if they work in the public sector.
    Now we are also have to compete against public facilities who offer a 15% higher wage, something we cannot compete with.

  10. Just wondering exactly How the Federal Government is going to fully fund this pay increase. e.g If consumers are on a home care package – does that mean the cost of fees will be going up to cover the increase in wages? Also considering that the Federal governments proposed Home Support package due to be introduced in Jul 24 will be capping the fees charged.

  11. All power to aged care workers, including home carers, for the valuable contribution they make to the community. They deserve the plaudits coming from all sectors; and they most definitely have earned the 15percent pay rise just awarded. More is required, however, to adequately reward them for their efforts and dedication.

  12. Does this cover Aged care workers employed by a provider eg. Home care who have care packages and get care through care givers from the private providers

  13. I have worked in Aged Care for 17yrs in the maintanance area. We missed out on all the retention bonuses and now this. To give a pay rise to one part of the workforce and leave others out is just divisive and I cannot understand how they could do it again. No wonder people are leaving in droves and they still exclude aged care workers who are on very low wages from the same raise in pay . They bang on about equality what a load of crap. Now is the time to leave and never come back.

  14. I am a personal care worker.i am part of a team.wether it is laundry,lifestyle, cleaners ,kitchen staff or admin without the whole team it just does not work.anyone knows divisions in a team makes it impossible to get a good result. Let’s become one.

  15. I do cleaning and laundry. I go in clients rooms all the time when they are ill have covid ,i have to wear masks and ppe i clean up all the infected room pick up all there tissues clean the toilets wear they have made a mess we are all so close to the clients we site and talk to the clients to make them happy that we are in there rooms so we are still age care workers so please tell me why they dont think we are also included in the 15% pay rise because what would happen if we did not go in them rooms when they have covid to clean them Thankyou

  16. Allied health workers provide direct care but were not included – also not included in the SCHADS award wage increase approved earlier this year – ie not included in 2 government approved wage increases . Very disappointing our value is not recognised – falls prevention, mobility, home safety/modifications, exercise programs – all assist to keep the elderly in their home.

  17. All cleaners/ laundry are not happy about not getting the 15% rise. All age cares will see that the cleaning will go down hill ,they will feel you think cleaning does not matter then we will not bother and then there will be infection and covid abd will not pick up after the care staff and why should all cleaners have to do all the age care work on the computer if we dont matter

  18. I work in aged care as a cleaner, do laundry, make breakfast, feed residents, make beds etc. We are always short staffed, carrying the load so I don’t understand why nurses and carers are the only ones eligible for the increase. Please explain how this decision was made?

  19. I am an age care worker in the community, shouldn’t my work be just as valuable as an in house worker. Why were we not included?

  20. Hi please pray That aged care laundry at Anglicare get 15% payrise as I do goto residences room there clothes only the laundry girl low income we work hard 2 my hours god cut from 8hrs to 6hrs which not good I in union not helping pay for it Anglicare can’t be trusted

  21. It’s great the care staff are getting a pay increase , I have worked in age care for 10 years , doing kitchen and laundry and cleaning ,we support the residents we make sure there rooms are cleaned chat to them help them, we do their washing and return their clothes and linen to there cupboard’s in their rooms and we chat and support every resident why doing this job , we deliver their food to their rooms or serve their meal in the dining area we know how they have their cup of tea / coffee and what they like to eat we chat and laugh with the residents and support their needs Laundry, Cleaners , Kitchen staff fully , office workers we all support the residents as one and we we’re working with the care staff through the Covid times with lock downs and keeping everyone safe , we didn’t get any extra $$ like the carers , nurse RNs , if we weren’t their the residents wouldnt get what they need or would the care staff be able to do their jobs each day why can’t the government look at the support workers , that’s all we ask , all we here is carers , carers and RNs and nurses need pay increase , WHY don’t we count in age care , we need the support from our government too , please make us all count in age care as one

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