Union claims aged care workers in Australia are at risk of not receiving full wage increases, as some providers are threatening to withhold the money. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), the country’s largest union, has raised concerns about aged care providers trying to short-change underpaid nurses and personal care workers.
In November 2022, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) ordered an interim 15 per cent wage increase, with the full amount due to be applied on June 30th this year. However, ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said that some employers are rushing to lock workers into new Enterprise Agreements (EAs) that offer wage increases that do not pass on the full amount of additional funding to cover wage increases.
Ms Butler explained that some providers are “gaming” the new government funding model and trying to short-change workers. The ANMF is calling on the government to ensure transparency and accountability around the new funding, so that money goes into the pockets of aged workers.
“There need to be rules or triggers imposed by the government that require aged care providers to pass the additional funding on to higher wages,” Ms Butler said.
“Otherwise, the aged care staffing crisis will not be addressed, and pay rates won’t increase sufficiently to enable the attraction and retention of nursing and care staff.”
Ms Butler added that the government must consult with the ANMF and its members on how the funding will be applied. The union has filed bargaining dispute applications in the FWC against providers, which have refused to include a clause in their proposed EAs that provides for transparency about the funding they receive, consultation with the ANMF when they receive it, and a commitment to pass on all additional work value money provided by the Commonwealth as higher wages.