The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) says the Federal Government’s Submission supporting a pay rise for aged care nurses and care workers will finally recognise the chronic undervaluation of employees and set the platform for better recruiting and retaining workers in the sector and, ultimately, better care for older Australians.
The ANMF and the Health Services Union (HSU) have already made landmark applications to the Fair Work Commission’s aged care work-value case, for a 25% across-the-board increase in award wages for the country’s lowly-paid aged care workers.
ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the Submission by the Federal Government is a long-awaited recognition that the work of aged care nurses and carers continues to be undervalued and that an increase in award wages is strongly justified.
“We appreciate the Government’s support for our ongoing ANMF campaign to improve the wages of aged care workers, whose work has never really been properly valued,” Ms Butler said today.
“We welcome the Government’s agreement that current award rates do not adequately reflect the value of aged care workers, particularly in light of their extraordinary efforts over the last 30 months of the COVID-pandemic, which has already claimed the lives of more than 3,000 elderly Australians.
“The nature of the work required across the aged care sector has developed considerably over the years and become signifcantly more complex, requiring greater skill and responsibility under increasingly difficult conditions, with a diminishing workforce.
“That’s why we believe the Government’s support for a wage increase for nurses and workers will create the opportunity for well-paid jobs and provide a platform for nurses and care workers to be recruited and retained in the under-resourced aged care sector.”
Ms Butler said the Submission demonstrated the Albanese Government’s ongoing commitment to fixing aged care after the introduction of new Legislation which will ensure that a registered nurse (RN) is on-site in every nursing home 24/7 and that nursing home residents will receive a minimum amount of safe, quality care every day from a suitably valued workforce.