The Federal Labor Government’s commitment to fund $11.3 billion to address historically low wages in aged care is a lifeline for long-suffering aged care workers across the sector, United Workers Union said today.
United Workers Union Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith said the Federal Government had lived up to its promise to fund the Work Value Case decision in full, and the 15 per cent pay rise would benefit hard-working aged care workers nationally.
On top of the Federal Government’s commitment to lift care hours in line with Royal Commission recommendations in October, the measures go a long way towards addressing systemic issues that have plagued aged care workers.
“For too long understaffed aged care workers have been on the front line providing care to some of Australia’s most vulnerable citizens, without proper recognition and on horrendously low pay,” Ms Smith said.
“They worked double and triple shifts during the pandemic, then backed up during Omicron to keep residents safe and facilities operating.
“The 15 per cent pay rise is a major step towards recognising the incredible sacrifices aged care workers have made, and gives comfort that the terrible years of Coalition Government underfunding and understaffing are coming to an end.
“The import of the Work Value Case won by unions in the Fair Work Commission was that aged care work had been historically undervalued, and this 15 per cent pay rise is being paid because of that.”
Ms Smith noted the Federal Government had made it clear that providers had to pass the full 15 per cent pay rise to eligible aged care workers, with no ifs or buts.
“Providers have a very clear obligation to pass on the pay rise, which should flow to workers whether they are on the award or on enterprise agreements,” Ms Smith said.
“United Workers Union will be fighting to make sure providers are held accountable, and every last cent of this pay rise goes to workers, not pumping up bottom lines.”
Ms Smith said aged care workers remained upset that not all aged care workers would receive the pay increase, with the Fair Work Commission delaying its decision on whether aged care support services would be eligible for a pay increase.
The pay rise is going to direct care workers, home care workers, head chefs and lifestyle workers.
“Aged care workers know that support workers in laundry, cleaning, food service and maintenance are essential for an appropriate level of quality care, and it’s only right they receive the 15 per cent pay increase as well,” Ms Smith said.