The federal government has promised to take up legislation on potential wage increases for elderly care workers, but has not said how much wages should increase.
More than 300,000 residential and home care workers could receive pay increases after unions representing workers filed a lawsuit with an independent wage tribunal.
They want wages for elderly care workers and nurses to rise by 25%.
“The Commonwealth supports raising the minimum wage for elderly care workers,” it said in a filing with the Fair Labor Commission.
“The Commonwealth argues that the value of elderly care workers’ jobs is far higher than modern awards currently reflect.”
If the FWC rules in favor of the unions, the Grattan Institute estimates it could cost the budget $3 billion more annually.
Elderly Care Minister Annika Wells dismissed the estimate when asked on Tuesday, claiming it was all “hypothetical” until the Wages Judge made a ruling.
“I think we are prepared for anything,” she told reporters in Brisbane.
In filings, the government argued that “invisible skills”, such as interpersonal skills, had not been adequately valued in previous deals.
“The commission should find that current compensation rates significantly underrepresent the work of elderly care workers for reasons related to gender,” it said.
Raising wages for elderly care workers was a key recommendation for the royal commission to enter the field.
The Labor Party had pledged to support the FWC’s proposal for a pay rise if it won the government, arguing that low wages offered little incentive for workers to stay or join the sector.
The government has “committed to provide funds to support the wage hikes made by the Commission…which will help provide a higher standard of care for older Australians”.
If this lawsuit succeeds, the minimum wage for workers could rise by at least $5 an hour.
Elderly care minister Annika Wells refuses to include dollar figures in workers’ pay increases
Source link Elderly care minister Annika Wells refuses to include dollar figures in workers’ pay increases