Landmark case to lift aged care wages 25 percent

THE Health Services Union has launched a landmark work value case in the Fair Work Commission to lift wages for the aged care workforce by 25 percent.

If the case succeeds, over 200,000 personal carers, activities officers, catering, cleaning, and administration workers would see their pay rise by at least $5 an hour.

The starting rate for a personal carer is currently $21.96 per hour, and the average carer retires with $18,000 in superannuation.

If the HSU claim succeeds a qualified personal carer would see their wages increase from $23.09 to $28.86 an hour.

The HSU claim also seeks to build in career paths and to recognise specialist carers in areas like dementia or palliative care.

“Aged care in this country has relied for too long on the goodwill of an underpaid and insecure workforce of women. It’s time for change,” HSU president Gerard Hayes said.

“Aged care workers are skilled. They provide care and support to our most vulnerable, to residents enduring episodes of sadness and at times anger. They should be recognised and paid for their skills.

“This pay rise is an issue of justice, but it also goes to the sustainability of the system. Four in 10 aged care workers intend to leave the sector within the next five years, because they are at breaking point. A workforce crisis is coming unless we see a significant boost to pay," Mr Hayes said.

“The Federal Government cannot keep hiding behind the Aged Care Royal Commission. We need  action immediately. The best thing the Commonwealth government can do is support this pay rise for the long-suffering aged care workforce.”

The HSU recently released economic modelling which showed a 0.65 percent rise in the Medicare levy would raise $20.4 billion over four years, funding a pay rise, an additional 59,000 aged care jobs and close to 90 minutes of additional resident care per day.


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