Government must urgently fund aged care wage decision

Catholic Health Australia

Catholic Health Australia is calling on the federal government to fully fund a wage rise for aged care workers arising from today’s decision in the Fair Work Commission.

The FWC is due to hand down its decision on the Aged Care Work Value Case at 2pm today.

Catholic Health Australia strongly supports the full 25 per cent claim for all aged care workers, saying it will help alleviate cost of living pressures for direct and indirect workers, and improve the attractiveness of the sector which is facing a workforce shortage.

“We strongly support the claim to raise the wages of dedicated, compassionate and hardworking staff, especially as cost of living pressures mount,” said Catholic Health Australia Aged Care Director Laura Haylen.

“The federal government must deliver on its commitment to fully fund these wage rises as soon as possible, including any leave entitlements. We believe that we can work together to ensure staff are paid as quickly as possible without diverting existing funds from quality care and support.

“With most aged care providers already running at a loss, they cannot afford to absorb these extra costs without government funding.”

Catholic Health Australia, which represents more than 350 not-for-profit residential aged care facilities, has long called for wage rises to help fix worsening staff shortages in aged care, including in a recent budget submission.

“Right now we have 60,000 care and nursing vacancies and this is projected to hit 110,000 in six years’ time. The government must fix this nationwide shortage before it devastates the sector any further,” said Ms Haylen.

The Fair Work Commission is today ruling on a case brought by unions, seeking a 25 per cent increase in the pay of all aged care workers.

Last year an interim decision saw the wages of direct care workers increased by 15 per cent. The Commission continued to consider the full wage claim and whether to extend it to all aged care workers, including around 100,000 essential food preparation, maintenance and household staff.

Alongside boosting pay, CHA is calling on the government to subsidise nurses’ rents, re-establish Health Workforce Australia and create a national ‘Health & Care Worker Passport’ to ease workforce shortages.

Catholic Health Australia is Australia’s largest non-government grouping of health and aged care services, accounting for approximately 15 per cent of hospital-based healthcare in Australia. Our members also provide around 25 percent of private hospital care, five per cent of public hospital care, 12 per cent of aged care facilities, and 20 per cent of home care and support for the elderly.

/Public Release.