Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Catholic Health joins aged care support worker wage increase chorus

Catholic Health Australia has today applauded the Fair Work Commission’s interim decision to award aged care nurses a 15% pay rise but says the sector’s support worker wages must also follow suit.

The not-for-profit organisation’s members account for 12% of Australia’s aged care facilities.

The Commission on Friday ruled that nurses should immediately get a 15% interim increase to their minimum wages – but crucial support workers including kitchen, laundry and maintenance staff are still awaiting their fate. 

CHA Aged Care Director, Jason Kara said these workers, who are essential to the provision of good quality age care, also deserved a wage increase. 

“Catholic Health Australia welcomes the Fair Work Commission’s interim decision. Better wages and conditions are key to attracting and retaining workers, and to restoring dignity to the carers who do such important work for society,’ he said.

“The Commission has not yet decided on whether around 100,000 administration and support workers will also receive a pay rise, and if so, how much. These workers are critical to delivering quality aged care and deserve a pay rise.

“CHA supports immediately passing increases on and delivering a much-needed boost to the workforce. We look forward to the Government delivering on its promise to fully fund the wage increase.”

Earlier this year a CHA survey found there were almost 50,000 nursing and care worker vacancies in the sector so this is a welcome step to plugging that gap. CHA participated in the Government’s Jobs Summit in August.

Mr Kara said the government should also consider other policies to make sure the aged care sector – where more than half of facilities are running at a loss – can recruit and retain staff.

“There are several measures that can help improve the recruitment of aged care workers such as affordable, flexible, out of hours childcare options for care workers; reform nurse training practices to get nurses into aged care facilities sooner, and streamlining the immigration process by listing aged care workers as a priority cohort and reducing fees and processing times,” he said.

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