The Australian government has today committed to funding the full 15% pay rise for aged care workers in line with the Fair Work Commission’s order for staff in the sector. The historic wage increase for workers will begin from July this year, and it is hoped will attract thousands more staff into sector.
The pay rise will benefit nurses, personal care workers, cooks, recreational officers and home care workers, and comes at a cost of $11.3bn, which will be funded over the next four years, starting from June 30.
The pay rise applies to more than 250,000 people.
An RN on a level 2.3 award wage will receive an extra $196.08 a week – around $10,000 a year.
ACCPA CEO Tom Symondson said the decision represents an additional $11.3 billion in funding for aged care over four years in next week’s federal Budget.
“This comes as a welcome relief for workers and aged care providers alike after a six-month campaign by ACCPA in seeking the government’s commitment to ensure the increase awarded by the Fair Work Commission last November is funded and paid in its entirety from July,” Mr Symondson said.
The pandemic and reduced funding over the past decade has left the aged care sector struggling to attract new staff. Importantly, we also need to keep workers, who are exhausted after more than two years of supporting older people and keeping them safe from COVID-19,” Mr Symondson added.
The decision follows a work value case put before the Fair Work Commission by the unions, which received support from the Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA), Anglicare Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, and UnitingCare Australia.
Queensland’s largest aged care provider UnitingCare Queensland CEO, Craig Barke, said the announcement would go some way to addressing the chronic staff shortages in the sector, particularly in regional and rural areas.
“We commend Minister Wells and the Federal Government’s commitment to aged care with this budget announcement,” Mr Barke said.