Aged care sector set for wage increase

The Federal Government has put aside $11.3 billion over four years to fund a 15% wage increase for direct care and some senior food services employees in the aged care sector.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) says the increase, which will take effect from 30 June 2023, will apply to employees covered by the:

  • Aged Care Award: personal care workers (PCWs) and recreation/lifestyle activities officers
  • Nurses Award: nursing assistants, enrolled nurses, registered nurses, nurse practitioners working in aged care
  • SCHADS Award: home care workers working in aged care

The increase, however, does not apply to support and administrative employees, nor chefs and cooks covered by the Aged Care Award who aren’t the most senior food services employee at the aged care facility.

Prepare for rate changes

As a general rule, the increase will not be automatically applied to rates in agreements. However, the minimum pay rate in an agreement cannot be less than the new minimum award rates.

It is important aged care businesses be aware of the changes to pay rates, says CCIWA Employee Relations Advice Centre manager Siobhan Griffiths.

“Such a large increase is likely to be a shock for businesses who are already struggling with rising costs in general,” Griffiths says.

Federal Aged Care Minister the Hon Anika Wells MP says the decision will help attract and retain aged care workers.

“This wage decision will help more women and families to make ends meet and ensure that quality aged care workers are less likely to contemplate leaving the sector because of pay concerns,” she says.

The FWC is also conducting its Annual Wage Review which considers minimum pay rates each financial year. Depending on the review outcome and when the next pay period starts following that decision, employers may need to update their payroll twice to reflect changes to pay rates.

Our Employee Relations Advice Centre is also available to respond to your questions on (08) 9365 7660, or via [email protected]

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