Catholic Health Australia says the Commonwealth Government’s decision to postpone desperately-needed wage increases is a bitter bill for aged care workers to swallow.
In its submission to the Fair Work Commission, the Government has rejected paying the urgently needed 15 per cent interim wage increase immediately, instead proposing delaying this by months and years with 10 per cent paid in July 2023 and 5 per cent in July 2024.
CHA, the peak advocacy body for Catholic not-for-profit aged care facilities, says it is critical that aged care workers receive a boost to their wages as soon as possible to ensure a stable and skilled workforce that delivers high-quality care to older Australians.
CHA’s Aged Care Director Jason Kara said that the primary reason the sector has difficulty attracting and retaining well-skilled people was due to low wages and that this is only getting worse with cost-of-living pressures.
“Both the Royal Commission and the Fair Work Commission have accepted aged care workers are underpaid and that this is a key reason we are experiencing a crisis in recruiting and retaining staff,” Mr Kara said.
“The government recently welcomed the Fair Work Commission’s interim pay decision as desperately needed and thoroughly deserved but now it has been delayed, we want to know why?”
“This is a really bitter pill for aged care workers to swallow right before Christmas and is a real disappointment for our members and their hard-working staff.”
CHA supports the calls of unions, consumer groups and other provider peaks for the government to support not just the 15 per cent interim pay decision for direct care workers, but the full 25 per cent pay increase for all aged care workers and for it to be paid as soon as possible.