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22 February, 2023

15% Pay increase to expanded group of aged care workers from 30 June 2023

Blog | Industry News

Late last year, the Fair Work Commission made an interim decision to issue a 15% increase to minimum wages for direct care workers, indicating that it would later decide whether to expand the group of workers to whom the increase will apply to, as well as the date from which it will apply. The Commission has now issued that decision,[1] which includes expanding the group of workers. The increase will apply from 30 June 2023.

The Fair Work Commission decided in November 2022 that aged care workers have been historically undervalued and that it was therefore appropriate to increase their wages – initially by 15% (see our earlier EMA Note for more details about this earlier decision).

Draft determinations, as well as all of the Commission’s decisions and statements, can be viewed on the Commission’s website here.

The Decision

This interim decision applied to ‘direct care workers’.

The Commission has now decided to expand the scope of workers who will receive the 15% increase to include:

  • direct care workers (as decided in the Commission’s earlier decision) under the Aged Care Award 2010, Nurses Award 2020, and Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Award 2010;
  • the most senior food services employee in a facility (classified at levels 4-7 under the Aged Care Award 2010); and
  • recreational activities officers/lifestyle officers under the Aged Care Award 2010.

The increase will apply from 30 June 2023. A potential effect of this may be that when the Commission decides on the national minimum wage increase, that increase (or a varied increase) will apply on top of the newly increased rates for the above-described workers.

What this Means for Employers

The effect of the Commission’s decision is that the award wages of the above-described workers will increase by 15% starting on the first full pay period on or after 30 June 2023.[2] Employers should ensure that they are ready to adjust their payroll systems by this date—though the Commission may decide to increase those wages again when it issues its national minimum wage decision (which has been published in June the last two years). For employers with enterprise agreements covering some or all of the effected employees, it is important to ensure that the base rates of pay under the Agreement are updated to at least meet the equivalent base rates of pay from the awards.

The Commission has still not concluded its third stage of the Wage Value Case, so it may still decide in the future for a further increases and/or for the increase to cover additional classes of employees.

The Commission has indicated that any parties who wish to make submissions in relation to its published draft determinations should do so by no later than 1 March 2023. EMA Consulting is able to assist with preparing and filing submissions if needed.

Require further information/assistance?

This EMA Note is not comprehensive advice about your situation and does not cover all your obligations. If you require further information or advice, please contact your Consultant.

[1] [2023] FWCFB 40.[2] Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) s 166(5).

EMA Consulting is not a law firm and therefore does not provide legal advice or services. The information contained within this document and associated material is general in nature and should not be relied upon. If you require specific advice on a particular matter, we recommend that you contact EMA Consulting on 08 8203 1700. Subject to the matter at hand, your EMAC Consultant may recommend that you obtain formal legal advice. If formal legal advice is required, upon your written instruction EMAC will brief your matter to a legal practitioner for this purpose. The contents of this document and associated materials do not represent legal advice.


For more information or specific advice, please do not hesitate to contact one of our employee relations consultants.

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