The Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has taken its campaign for higher wages in aged care to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) after the Government opted not to take up the Royal Commission’s recommendation to increase award wages.
Under the application, the hourly rate for an EN at the top of the scale would increase from $24.73 an hour to $30.93. For an RN Level 1 pay point 8, the base rate would rise from $30.23 to $37.80 an hour.
The weekly wage for a PCW or AIN with a Certificate III qualification would also increase from $877 to $1,097 a week or $28.86 an hour.
The union is also seeking for entry level PCWs or AINs to progress to the next pay point after six months, rather than the current 12 months.
Aged care work long undervalued
ANMF Federal Secretary, Annie Butler (pictured right) says the application was made on the basis that the work of staff delivering aged care has long been recognised as undervalued.
“We say that the award rates of pay do not adequately reflect the skill, responsibility and complexity of the work required to deliver safe and quality care to older people, whether in residential aged care settings or in their own homes,” she said.
The case comes six months after the Health Services Union (HSU) lodged a similar claim for a 25% wage increase for aged care staff last November.
But with the Fair Work Commission rarely delivering wage increases higher than 2 to 3%, will the cases find success? The likelihood seems wildly unrealistic.
And would the Government foot the bill for a wage rise given the sector says it won’t be able to deliver an increase for two years?
It’s an issue that we discussed in our latest issue of SATURDAY with Aged Care Services Minister, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck – catch the story in the non-subscriber half of the issue here and subscribe here for the full stories.