Are retirement village managers paid commensurate to the regulatory skills now demanded?

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Over the past seven days in Brisbane and then Melbourne, the pay scales for village managers were questioned. The conclusion in both cities is that the regulatory and legal pressures have outgrown the pay scales for village managers.

In Melbourne, we have been filming the first episodes of our NINE Network TV series on ageing. At one village, the manager reminded me of my first newsletter editorial 17 years ago where we discussed the pay rate of $65,000 for village managers being inadequate then.

The village manager pointed out that not only is the regulatory world far different and more complex, but the Government is now auditing and enforcing regulations. While not divulging their pay scale, the fact is that village managers average wage remains at $80,000 nationally. That is a $15,000 increase in 17 years.

In Brisbane, Tammy Berghofer, Partner at MinterEllison, and her colleague Mitchell Byram gave an hour-long presentation at our DCM Institute Professional Development Day, guiding the 40 attendees on how they can protect their employers (and residents) in disputes, including contract disputes.

Tammy reinforced the importance of understanding the Act, and taking detailed and chronological notes on all interactions with residents, no matter how trivial. They also emphasised the importance of understanding the operator duty of care – another subject to be covered in the DCM Institute.

The point was made repeatedly that the legal costs of a dispute getting out of control are significant, and the early skilled action of the village manager can prevent those costs.

This leads to ensuring the village manager is paid commensurate with those skills, as it will be a saving in the short to medium term.