Fair Work Commission has ruled pay rise for aged care workers is plainly justified

Aged care workers will receive a pay rise of 15 per cent after the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down an interim decision yesterday, that also left the door open for further increases.

In a statement, Lori-Anne Sharp of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation – one of the unions that brought the wage claim commented, “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.”

The timing of the interim increase will be dealt with in Stage 2 of proceedings, which is listed for 22 November 2022.

The Government has promised to fund the increase.

In awarding the increase the full bench of the FWC cited the increased needs of those in care have significantly increased in terms of clinical complexity, frailty and cognitive and mental health and the work of RNs, ENs and Certificate III PCW’s in residential aged care has significantly changed in the last 2 decades.

The ruling is an important first step in placing value on the work being done in aged care, which will form part of how the sector addresses its needs for a projected 70 per cent increase in direct care workers from current levels by 2050. A ‘secret report’ handed to the previous government last year suggests a more immediate shortfall of 100,000 care workers in the next 5 years. Read more…

Inside Ageing recently published a guest post by Colin Osborne, CEO of Peninsula Villages on the NSW Central Coast who employs more than 350 staff. He summed up the staffing situation and the lack of attention it received in the Federal Budget.

“We are eagerly awaiting any outcome to increased pay for our sector, and while any rise is welcomed, there needs to be a national response as to how we will attract, retain and develop a skilled workforce in the future too. It’s a shame this wasn’t reflected in last week’s budget.”

The next stages of the hearings will take submissions from employers and the government who have previously cited Treasury estimates suggesting a 25% increase in the pay for aged care workers could increase workforce numbers by 5 – 10%, – potentially adding around 36,000 workers to the sector.

Stage 3 of the FWC hearings will deal with the potential of further increases, including those job classifications not covered by the 15% interim pay deal.


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