Talking point: Time to align pay rates for care workers.
May 19, 2023
WAGE WIN FOR AGED-CARE WORKERS BUT DISABILITY CARERS MISS OUT, WRITES ALLYSON WARRINGTON.
Community Based Support wholeheartedly welcomes the Fair Work Commission’s decision to provide a wage increase of 15 per cent for aged-care workers.
Importantly, the federal government has said it will fully fund the increase, for which we have advocated for many years, given how much we value our workers providing direct care.
At Community Based Support, with some 2500 clients, we are a provider of both aged-care and disability services.
The 15 per cent increase only applies to aged-care workers, which means our disability support workers could do the same job for a disability client and receive less pay than a worker providing the same service to an aged-care client.
We would like to bridge this gap, but unfortunately, as one of the state’s largest providers with a significant workforce, we will likely not be able to fund the difference for all workers to receive the increase.
We are still juggling figures, attempting to achieve this outcome, but it’s unlikely unless we pass on increased costs to our clients.
Community Based Support is a provider with multiple funding streams – some from the Tasmanian state government and some from the federal government.
We are yet to be advised how we will receive the funding for the increases. Initial information appears to indicate it will be treated differently for every funding stream.
With budget preparations and approvals in readiness for the new financial year, this information is critical as to how we manage and prepare our finance and payroll systems, in what is already a very complex payroll and rostering environment. The peak bodies, ACCPA (Australian Community Care Providers Association) and NDS (National Disability Services) are advocating on behalf of members and listening to concerns from the sector.
With the State of the Disability Sector report showing that 46 per cent of providers expect to make a loss this financial year, many providers won’t be able to match the aged-care increase for their disability workers.
NDS has heard that a lower rate will create a disincentive to work in the disability sector, leading to NDIS participants missing out on home care services.
This adds to challenges the sector already faces regarding workforce shortages.
It is time to align many aspects of aged and disability care, including the wage rates. Aside from equity concerns it will reward our valuable employees and remove the complexities that exist for those providers.
At Community Based Support, we are committed to providing the best care for all our clients.
Allyson Warrington is the chief executive of Community Based Support
Published in The Mercury 19/05/2023