Aged care workers will receive a pay rise of at least 15 per cent, after the Fair Work Commission announced an interim increase.
The increase is the first stage of a three-step decision process following Union calls for a 25 per cent minimum wage pay rise.
In its ruling on on Friday, the commission said “existing minimum rates do not properly compensate employees for the value” of their work, and that the 15 per cent increase was “plainly justified”.
The possibility of a further pay increase hasn’t been ruled out, and implementation of the raise will be discussed at the end of the month, after submissions from employers and the federal government are considered by the commission.
“We wish to make it clear that this does not conclude our consideration of the unions’ claim for a 25-per-cent increase for other employees, namely administrative and support aged care employees,” the commission said.
“Nor are we suggesting that the 15-per-cent interim increase necessarily exhausts the extent of the increase justified by work value reasons in respect of direct care workers.”
Aged Care Minister Mark Butler, voiced his enthusiasm for the decision on Twitter, writing: “BREAKING: Our aged care workers are getting a pay rise!”
“We backed a wage increase for aged care workers in our submission to the Fair Work Commission and today they’ve been awarded a 15% interim wage rise,” he wrote.
The Health Services Union welcomed the 15 per cent interim pay rise, that applies to direct care workers, but said a larger and broader increase was needed to stem the industry’s crisis.
“This is a reasonable start but we need the Commission to go further and permanently end the poverty wage settings that dominate aged care,” Gerard Hayes, HSU national president said.
“Fifteen per cent is a down payment but nobody should be mistaken. This will not fix the crisis. We still have massive unfinished business in aged care.
“For the last decade this industry has relied on the goodwill of an exploited, casualised workforce. Today represents progress, but the legal, political and industrial fight continues.”