Large swathes of the aged care workforce will receive wage rises of between seven and 28 per cent delivering justice and dignity to them and the elderly residents they devote themselves to.

“This is an historic improvement that will usher in a new era of decency and dignity in our aged care homes,” HSU National President, Gerard Hayes said.

“For the last decade aged care has been held together by the goodwill and commitment of a severely underpaid, insecurely employed workforce. Today those workers have won wage justice.”

The aged care work value case was lodged by the Health Services Union in the Fair Work Commission in November 2020. It sought a 25 per cent increase to wages for all employees arguing that work had been undervalued because of its increasing complexity and its overwhelmingly feminised workforce.

At the end of 2022, the Fair Work Commission awarded an interim 15 per cent pay rise to approximately 240,000 direct care employees. Today it has updated that decision.

The improvement to pay will have a stark, material impact. The hourly wage for direct care workers will increase between 18 and 28 per cent (inclusive of the previous 15 per cent).

Support services workers such as laundry hands, cleaners and food services assistants will increase by 6.8 per cent through a combination of increased wages and reclassification. Work remains to lift the wages of support workers in areas such as admin and maintenance.

“These are life changing improvements,” Hayes said. “They will allow the industry to retain workers which, as the Royal Commission noted, is absolutely essential to delivering continuity of care. When someone is dealing with a condition such as dementia, it is deeply reassuring for them and their family to see the same carer.

“We acknowledge that people in administration and maintenance have not received the wage increase we pushed for. We will keep pushing and fighting to lift their wages.

“Most of the aged care workforce itself can now imagine and plan for fully fledged careers, where people can plan a life around their work and really commit to it. Many workers have subjected themselves to the edges of poverty and homelessness to work in this industry. Now they can care for the elderly and also provide for themselves and their family.”


Read the Fair Work Commission decision here