Pay rise next year, staggered for some

Direct care workers will receive wage hike in two stages, says FWC.

Aged care workers will have to wait until 2025 for a pay rise and, furthermore, direct care workers will be receiving their wage hike over two tranches, the independent workplace tribunal has announced.

Determining the Stage 3 Aged Care decision, the Fair Work Commission announced in March that Certificate III-qualified personal care workers, assistants in nursing and home care workers would receive a pay increase of 23 per cent, inclusive of the 15 per cent interim increase announced in February last year.

However, the FWC determined has Thursday that the wage increase for direct care workers will be awarded over two stages: 50 per cent from 1 January 2025 and 50 per cent from 1 October 2025.

Indirect care workers – who will receive a pay rise of between 3 and 7 per cent – will get their money in full, from 1 January 2025.

The three unions involved in the work value case – Health Services Union, United Workers Union and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation – called for the pay rise to come into effect in full for all aged care workers on 30 June 2024.

But, in a decision document that landed Thursday evening, the FWC says: “…we consider it appropriate that the wage increases for direct care workers and HCWs awarded in the Stage 3 Aged Care decision should, as proposed by the Commonwealth, flow in two tranches; and the operative date for the first tranche of increases for direct care workers and HCWs, and the full increases for indirect care workers, should be 1 January 2025.”

In a submission to the FWC, the federal government had recommended that the second stage of increases for direct care workers and HCWs be released from 1 January 2026.

But, the FWC has determined that “on the basis that this will occur in the 2025–26 financial year, we give less weight to the Commonwealth’s decision concerning the timing of funding.” Instead, it considers “that an appropriate date for the second tranche is 1 October 2025.”

Also, while the federal government proposed that 50 per cent of the wage increases for direct care workers and HCWs should be payable in the first tranche, the FWC intends to modify the proposal “to take into account that, for some direct care worker and HCW classifications, the additional increases awarded in the Stage 3 Aged Care decision were small or, in two cases, zero.”

The FWC considers “that where half of the entire increase is less than 3 per cent, a 3 per cent minimum increase (or the entire increase where it is less than 3 per cent) should take effect on 1 January 2025 (unless there is no increase payable at all).”

The FWC has determined that the first tranche of increases for direct care workers and HCWs will consist of three categories:

  • if half of the total increase is more than 3 per cent, half of the total increase should take effect on 1 January 2025
  • if the total increase is more 3 per cent, but half of the total increase is less than 3 per cent, a 3 per cent increase should take effect on 1 January 2025
  • if the total increase is less than 3 per cent, the total increase should take effect on 1 January 2025.

The aged care work value case was lodged by the HSU in November 2020 seeking a 25 per cent increase to wages for all employees due to the work being undervalued in light of its increasing complexity and overwhelmingly feminised workforce.

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Tags: Fair Work Decision, pay rise,

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