Labor Leader, Anthony Albanese, announced on Thursday night in a Budget-Reply speech that his government would support Aged Care workers’ bid for a pay rise in the Fair Work Commission. LiveBetter CEO, Natalie Forsyth-Stock welcomes the focus on improving pay conditions for all aged care workers, including those delivering in-home care, but cautious that the approach must be accompanied by a commensurate increase in funding for the sector.
“The importance of connection to your hometown and regional community is crucial as people age. Our Home Care Workers provide the essential support and services that our elderly need to keep them in their own homes,” says Ms Forsyth-Stock.
“Our staff are experts in their field. They are well-trained professionals who provide a large range of services to some of the most vulnerable members of our society with care, compassion, and kindness. As a community, we need to value the contribution that Home Care Workers make and recognise that with better pay conditions.
“The work that our workers do is incredible. Allowing people to remain in their communities longer also means that they can maintain social connections and contact with their normal support networks. Keeping our elderly out of expensive residential care not only allows individuals their independence, but they are also in an environment they feel comfortable with and have the support they require.
“Whether it’s providing domestic assistance to our customers or helping modify their homes to meet changing needs, Home Care Workers provide essential and meaningful services. Many individuals want to age in their own homes, in their existing communities, but they need support to do so.
“As our population ages, the demand for staff to fulfil these crucial roles is growing, and policies that will close the gap between pay rates in care services help organisations like ours meet the increasing demand for staff and attract new employees to this incredibly rewarding work,” continues Ms Forsyth-Stock. “As a society, we know the benefit to keeping people in their own homes as they age is huge, but it takes a motivated and dedicated workforce to make that happen.
“At LiveBetter we attract and retain staff with employee benefit programs like the Fitness Passport, paid parental leave programs and salary sacrifice but enabling aged care workers to be paid at a similar rate to their disability counterparts will certainly help in retaining and attracting staff to meet the aged care needs of the future.
“We want to do everything we can to support our workers and have them recognised for the important and critical work they are doing. This announcement is timely as we cannot continue to keep sweeping this under the carpet. We can’t however look at policies like this one in isolation. Without a commensurate increase in the size of home care packages, the increase in wages will just eat into the service hours,” concludes Ms Forsyth-Stock.
The aged care workers union is seeking pay rises of 25%. This will be in line with the rate Disability care workers are paid.