Final wage outcome for aged care workers

The Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision, announced last week, confirmed that direct care workers would receive 50% of the additional award wage increase from January 1, 2025, with the remaining 50% to be implemented in October 2025. Meanwhile, indirect care workers, including cleaners and administrative staff, will receive the full increase starting next year.

However, the FWC found the Commonwealth’s request for a staggered increase reasonable, considering the 15% interim award rate increase already granted and the recent annual wage review increase.

The FWC is still deliberating additional pay increases for enrolled nurses (ENs) and registered nurses (RNs) as part of the Aged Care work value case and a separate case brought by the unions for all employees under the Nurses Award 2020.

Health Services Union national president Gerard Hayes acknowledged the decision to bring forward the second increase by three months as a positive step but criticised the government for delaying wage justice.

“The attraction and retention crisis in aged care is with us now, and there’s no sense in delaying wage justice for a workforce that strives so hard for such modest reward,” he said.

The commission noted that delaying the wage increases would disadvantage employees amid rising living costs but highlighted that recent annual wage reviews would help maintain the real value of wages for award-reliant aged care workers since the interim 15% increase took effect last June.

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