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Proposal to phase in wage increases in elderly care due to concerns about labor shortages

The government is aiming to delay pay increases for aged care workers, citing concerns about potential labor shortages if significant pay rises are implemented too quickly.

In the Government’s submission to the Fair Work Commission on the issue, they cited vacancies in healthcare, including nursing and childcare roles, which have increased by 118% compared to pre-pandemic levels in February 2024, in contrast an increase of 49% in other sectors. sectors.

The government has committed to financing the increase and proposes to phase in the increases over a two-year period, starting on January 1, 2025 and January 1, 2026.

  • for indirect healthcare workers – completely from January 1, 2025;
  • for direct care providers – 3.2.1. an increase in funding equivalent to 50 percent of phase 3
    wage increases for direct care employees (including recharged costs) from January 1, 2025; and an increase in funding equivalent to the remaining 50 percent of Phase 3 wage increases for direct health care workers (including expenses) beginning in January 2026.

Unions including the Health Services Union are opposing the delay, arguing it will exacerbate retention issues in the aged care sector – a sentiment echoed by several aged care providers online.

Health Services Union national chairman Gerard Hayes said the government’s position, if accepted, would mean aged care workers would have to wait six years for their full pay rise, as their work value case had begun in 2020.

“We’re not talking about bringing a few more people into the industry – we’re talking about stopping the bleeding of people leaving”

Healthcare union Gerard Hayes