Home | Industry & Reform | Dates for care workers’ pay rises set by Fair Work Commission – nurses still waiting
The Fair Work Commission has determined a date for aged care pay rises. Picture: AAP Image/James Ross

Dates for care workers’ pay rises set by Fair Work Commission – nurses still waiting

The Australian Fair Work Commission has finalised the decision to determine when 250,000 Australian aged care workers will receive a pay increase of up to 14 per cent.

The Commission has confirmed that direct care workers under the aged care, nurses and SCHADS Awards will receive 50 per cent of the increase from 1 January 2025 and another 50 per cent from 1 October 2025.

Indirect care workers, like administration staff, cooks and cleaners, will receive their seven per cent increase in full from 1 January 2025.

The increase, which was announced in March, has been subject to delays due to government funding. The Commission rejected the government's proposal to stagger the pay rise over 18 months, instead opting to deliver the increase in two stages.

Unions have expressed their disappointment at the decision to make workers wait.

Roald Versteeg, Aged & Community Care Providers Association (ACCPA) policy and advocacy general manager, said this although the pay rise is a step forward in recognition for our care workers, the wait is not.

“We [ACCPA] welcome these pay rises as acknowledgment of the wonderful job our workers perform caring for older Australians every day,” Mr Versteeg said.

“Pay rises have played and will continue to play an important part in attracting and retaining workers, in the face of critical shortages across the aged care sector.”

“We [ACCPA] acknowledge the disappointment of workers who will have to wait for increases and the frustration of their employers. The Government informed the Commission that it could not provide the full funding until 1 January 2025 and that the increases had to be in two tranches. The Commission’s decision reflects that submission by the Government.”

“We look forward to seeing the impact on the sector full funding by Government of both Stages 2 and 3 over the coming months and years.”

With minimum care requirements taking effect on October 1 2024, aged care providers will be under pressure to retain employees. The recent increase to minimum wage will provide some relief, however, concerns remain that the delay does not address the current cost-of-living crisis.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) had campaigned for the wage rises to take effect immediately and for all aged care employees.

ANMF federal secretary Annie Butler expressed the Federation's concern that nurses are still waiting for a determination on when they will receive their pay rise.

“Additional pay increases for enrolled nurses (ENs) and registered nurses (RNs) are still being considered by the FWC in both the Aged Care Work Value Case and a separate Work Value Case made by the ANMF for all employees covered by the Nurses Award 2020.

“The ANMF hopes a result can be achieved quickly so that all nurses working in Australia’s aged care system finally receive a long-awaited and much-deserved increase to award wages,” Ms Butler added.

The wage rise is expected to cost the federal government an estimated $4.8 billion over the next four years, to be funded from a $60 billion contingency reserve.

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