Inclusion of some non-direct care workers in pay deal welcomed

Provider peak body welcomes the federal government’s latest submission to the Fair Work Commission.

Stock photo ID:1298088270

The aged care provider peak body has welcomed the federal government’s submission to the Fair Work Commission in which it extended its 15 per cent pay rise offer to include head chefs, cooks and recreational activities officers.

Tom Symondson

“ACCPA said in November, at the time of the FWC work value case decision, that we looked forward to a further decision by the commission which includes these staff as well as direct care staff in the pay increase,” Aged & Community Care Providers Association CEO Tom Symondson told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“Higher pay for aged care workers is a key step towards achieving successful and long-lasting aged care reform as identified by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.”

ACCPA itself made a submission to the FWC on Tuesday answering a question posed by the full bench asking stakeholders whether the interim pay increase should apply to all home care workers on the SCHADS Award or just those on the lower levels.

ACCPA informed the FWC that if those workers on the higher levels were excluded, they would end up earning less than their subordinates.

“To increase the current wage rate of home care employee levels 1-3 by 15 per cent and retain the current wage rate for home care employee levels 4-5 will create an anomaly within the SCHADS Award that creates tension with elements of the modern awards objective,” reads the submission.

“We need to encourage good chefs into aged care.”

Maggie Beer
Loretta Reiken

Regarding the inclusion of head chefs and cooks in the FWC pay deal, Loretta Reiken, consultant chef for the Lantern Project – the national community of practice to improve food and nutrition in aged care – said: “Aged care cooks and chefs are integral to the health, wellbeing and quality of life of aged care residents. Food contributes not only to clinical care but also provides the opportunity for residents to meaningfully connect with others. The value of this on resident quality care has long been underestimated and not prioritised.”

However, Ms Reiken told AAA that all members of the catering team – such as assistants and servers – need to be included in the pay deal. “Excluding catering teams sends a clear message to the workforce which further damages morale and will only fuel the exodus of skilled and caring catering staff from the industry.”

Maggie Beer

Also speaking to AAA, celebrity cook Maggie Beer – who campaigns to improve food across aged care – said: “Cooks and chefs in aged care are vitally important and should be celebrated and paid on a par, an equivalent position in industry. We need to encourage good chefs into aged care, we need to give them respect and recognition for their training and that means economic parity with similar positions in industry.”

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the Australian Recreational Therapy Association – whose members include diversional and recreational therapists, recreational activities officers and lifestyle staff – ARTA president Renee Smith told AAA: “It is heartening that the government has committed to including our members within aged care to be included in the 15 per cent pay rise and we see this as a beginning for further recognition of the value that qualified recreational therapy staff play in supporting older Australians in meaningful and purposeful recreational engagement.”

The 15 per cent wage increase is to be phased in over two stages: 10 per cent from 1 July 2023 and a further 5 per cent 12 months later.

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Tags: ACCPA, featured, loretta reiken, maggie beer, renee smith, Tom Symondson,

4 thoughts on “Inclusion of some non-direct care workers in pay deal welcomed

  1. Why isn’t Allied Health being included in this. Allied Health ARE direct workers who go everyday into the homes and provide treatment

  2. Without the hotel services workers the residents will suffer. As a resident, I have witnessed the consequences of not paying these workers correctly, recognising their valuable contribution and the extreme turnover of staff and the negative impact this has on the residents . They need to be rewarded as are the carers.

  3. I can’t believe the concept tht kitchenhands, cleaners and laundry workers, who are some fo the lowest paid have still been excluded. Hate to break it to the decision makers but you can place 100 infection control specialists in every facility if the environmental service people don’t empty the rubbish, serve the meals or wash the laundry correctly none of their expertise will count

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