Last Thursday (12 November 2020), the Health Workers Union (Union) applied to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) seeking a 25% pay rise for all aged care workers.

If the Union is successful, aged care providers will need to provide at least a $5 per hour pay rise for aged care workers covered under the Aged Care Award 2010 (Award) including personal care workers, administrative staff and catering staff.

We’ve explored this application below.

What is the Union claiming and Why?

The Union claims minimum rates in the Award are not reflective of the skill and hard work involved in providing increasingly complex support for aged care residents’ physical, social and emotional needs.

The Union argues that because of the current low rates, aged care workers:  

  • are struggling to make ends meet (meaning they have to often work across two or three facilities);
  • have a high percentage of employee turnover; and
  • do not accrue sufficient superannuation (with personal care workers retiring with an average of only $18,000 in superannuation).

How can the Union make this application?

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (s 158) employees and/or their union may apply for the FWC to vary a modern award that applies to them. If the request is successful, the FWC will vary the award, which would change Award pay, entitlements and/or conditions for the whole aged care sector.

Our Organisation is covered by an Enterprise Agreement, would this change affect me?

If your organisation has an operative enterprise agreement that applies instead of the Award, then any changes to the Award will not affect your organisation immediately. However, such minimum rates will apply as soon as your organisation negotiates the next enterprise agreement.

Can we help?

Our consultant Elise Jasper works with a number of aged care clients to ensure smooth running of their facilities. Contact her on 0424 013 551 if you have any questions about the above.

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Mark Ritchie

Mark Ritchie

Mark is passionate about helping Australian businesses efficiently resolve their industrial relations issues. Mark has demonstrated proficiency advising managers, executives and boards of small to medium-sized enterprises, as well as some of Australia’s best-known companies, on both litigious and non-litigious matters.

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