UnitingCare says Fed Govt must kick in extra $4B per year on aged care wages

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UnitingCare has called for a $4 billion annual uplift in aged care sector award wages from the Federal Government, saying it is necessary to support the workforce.

In a submission to the Fair Work Commission’s hearing on aged care worker pay, UnitingCare National Director Claerwen Little (pictured) said that extra pay for workers is an important part of meeting the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

“Aged care providers are deeply committed to ensuring the quality and safety of care services being delivered. This cannot be achieved without adequate funding of the sector and appropriate remuneration for the aged care workforce.

“In order to achieve this, the government must commit to fully funding the uplift in award wages to ensure a sustainable workforce. Without this commitment, the viability of the aged care sector is at significant risk,” she said.

Ms Little also wrote that, with the increasing complexity of aged care, the work performed by staff is being increasingly undervalued.

“Award wages need to be increased in-line with the increased clinical support required by aged care consumers. This includes increased rates of acuity, declining function, frailty, dementia, and related client needs.

“The demographic data means this trend is set to continue,” she said.

Aged care sector bodies and unions this year released a consensus statement saying wages need to increase; the Fair Work Commission is set to hand down its decision on the matter in July.