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The federal Government wants to phase in pay increases for aged care workers over two years (Bigstock)

The Albanese Government has flagged budgetary pressure for proposing a delay to aged care worker pay rises awarded by the Fair Work Commission. Source: The Australian.

Another reason it cited for holding back some wage hikes until 2026, that higher pay would divert workers from aged care into other sectors such as disability and childcare, was criticised by aged care providers and unions, who warned of a “workforce crisis” and said the full pay rise awarded would merely bring aged care pay into line with other care jobs.

In the wake of the FWC’s award in March of further aged care pay increases of up to 13.5 per cent for some of the sector’s 350,000 workers on top of a 15 per cent interim hike last year, the Government on Friday committed to fully funding the increase but called for its phasing in over two years.

Under a submission lodged with the FWC on Friday, some 250,000 direct care workers providing personal care to older Australians would receive half their wage increase, ranging between 3 per cent and 13.5 per cent depending on the role, in 2025 and the balance in 2026.

Another 100,000 indirect workers, including cleaners, laundry workers and gardeners, would see a wage rise of between 3 per cent and 7 per cent implemented in full from January.

The federal Budget is just a month away, and with the FWC’s March award set to cost about $3.3 billion over four years on top of the $11.3 billion committed in the 2023 Budget to cover the 15 per cent interim ruling, the Government’s submission makes clear that balancing the budget is a primary consideration.

It noted other parts of the care economy, such as health, disability and childcare also had significant worker shortages and that a large, one-off wage increase “may draw workers from other sectors … that also face employment shortages”.


Aged care wage rises to buffet budget (By Stephen Lunn, The Australian)


Many aged care workers may wait until 2026 for full pay increase as Albanese Government requests phased implementation (The Guardian)