by Alan Thornhill
About 150,000 low paid, child care – and other community sector – workers are to get big pay rises – staged over eight years.
Most are women.
In a statement today, the Federal government said these workers – who include some of Australia’s lowest paid – will benefit from regular pay rises totalling between 23 and 45 per cent from 1 December this year.”
The statement, signed jointly by several ministers, led by the Acting Prime Minister, Wayne Swan, said this follows Fair Work Australia’s “historic decision” in February, ordering equal pay for social and community services workers.
The ministers said this recognises “the tireless work they do for the Australian community. “
In its ruling Fair Work said the highest paid employees would receive a 41 per cent, or $24,000, pay rise, bringing their annual salary to $83,000.
Workers on the lowest award rates will receive a rise of 19 per cent, an increase of around $6,000 a year.
The Federal Government says it “remains committed” to providing additional Commonwealth funding of more than $2 billion to pay its share of the increases.
It said State and territory governments must also pay their share.
Mr Swan said FWA’s decision was the first successful equal remuneration claim in the national system and a significant advance for equal pay for women.
“In coming years, we will need to attract and retain more workers in the services sectors of the economy and especially in ‘caring’ work which has historically been dominated by women,” he said.
“Properly valuing caring work and providing decent wages in industries dominated by women is an important part of keeping our economy strong and resilient,” Mr Swan said.
The first instalments will be paid on December 1.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Wednesday May 22
The Dow Jones Index rose 52.07 points to 15,387.30
At least 24 die in Oklahoma tornado
Unions are seeking a rise of $30 a week in the National Wage Case, which opens today
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