The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has recently announced a 15% wage increase for aged care sector workers covered by certain modern awards which comes into effect from 30 June 2023.
Which Awards and employees are impacted?
The three impacted awards under which employees will receive the 15% wage increase are:
- Aged Care Award 2010: Applies to recreation/lifestyle activities officers, personal care workers, and the most senior food service employee (classified as levels 4–7) in particular aged care facilities;
- Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 (SCHADS): Applies to home care workers who work in aged care; and
- Nurses Award 2020: Applies to nursing assistants, registered/enrolled nurses and nurse practitioners working in aged care.
In each of the Awards, the FWC has created a set of new streams, with which employers will need to become familiar.
For employees who are covered by an impacted Award, but are receiving an above-award salary or hourly rate, employers will need to ensure that the salary or rate being paid to impacted staff is no less than what they would be entitled to under the relevant Award.
Although the wage increase won’t automatically apply to the rates negotiated in existing Enterprise Agreements, the minimum pay rates in any Enterprise Agreement can’t be less than the new minimum Award rates.
Who is not covered by the increases?
Support and administration employees working in aged care are not covered by the new wage increases.
Additionally, neither are chefs and cooks covered by the Aged Care Award who aren’t the most senior food service employees at their specific aged care facility or site.
When will the changes come into effect?
The new minimum wage rates will come into effect from the first full pay period commencing on or after 30 June 2023.
As the FWC’s annual wage review is still being conducted, other issues are still being considered by the FWC such as classification definitions/structures in the three Awards and potential wage adjustments for other aged care employees under the Awards that are not already included in the wage increases.
It is also not clear at this stage whether the FWC’s regular Annual Wage Review decision will further increase the minimum rates for these workers. If the FWC decides to award a further increase to aged care workers, employers will need to also pass this on, which is likely to come at a significant cost.
To keep up to date with any changes that might emerge from the Annual Wage Review or to receive further information about how these changes may impact your workplace, please contact us at email@example.com.