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The Fair Work Commission’s interim ruling on aged care wages has all but scratched the surface of what workers are begging for.

The Fair Work Commission’s recent interim decision deemed the pay rise was “plainly justified by work value reasons” and applies to Registered Nurses (RN), Enrolled Nurses (EN), AINs (Assistants in Nursing) and Personal care Workers (PCW) working in aged care under the Nurses Award, Age Well Award and SCHADS Award.

“Our Government is committed to stopping the neglect in the aged care sector – putting security, dignity and humanity back into the aged care system for workers and older Australians” said Minister for Health and Age Well Mark Butler in his statement on the pay rise.

While workers directly caring for people in nursing homes are set to receive a 15 per cent pay rise, unions say pay wages should not only be bigger but spread more broadly, including administrative staff and lifestyle workers.

Assistant federal secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), Lori-Anne Sharp, says that the “whilst the ANMF had sought a 25 per cent increase to minimum rates across the board for all relevant aged care employees, this interim pay increase now paves the way for us to keep advocating to get the very best wages aged care workers deserve.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tells reporters in Queensland that “…many aged care workers over recent years have told me they can’t continue to work in the sector.”

Albanese continues to say that the Fair Work decision is a way to do thank workers from their work across the pandemic.

According to Health Services Union national president Gerard Hayes, the interim wage rise was a reasonable start.

“Fifteen per cent is a down payment but nobody should be mistaken,” says Hayes. “This will not fix the crisis. We still have massive unfinished business in aged care… we won’t rest until we get some semblance of decency and sustainability into aged care.”

The Commission has announced a further process to consider timing, possible further increases for these workers, and whether to also grant a pay rise for aged care administrative and support staff.

For more information on the Fair Work ruling, click here.