Fair Work orders pay rise for community sector

Fair Work orders pay rise for community sector

Updated February 01, 2012 14:21:14

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Fair Work Australia has ordered the wages of a large number of community sector workers should increase by between 19 and 41 per cent.

Social workers, carers and child protection workers will be among the community sector employees who will eventually be paid the same as those in the public service.

Last year the workplace tribunal found that workers in the community and disability sectors were underpaid compared to public service workers doing similar jobs.

It found gender was one of the reasons for workers being undervalued.

In its ruling today, 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 changes will affect about 150,000 workers across Australia.

The new rates will be phased-in in nine instalments over an eight-year period, rather than six years as was recommended in a joint submission, beginning on December 1.

Fair Work says the longer time frame recognises the effect the changes will have on state finances as employment and service provisions.

The Commonwealth was a party to the joint submission because it will affect many organisations it funds.

Australian Services Union NSW and ACT secretary Sally McManus says community sector workers will finally get recognition after years of appalling pay.

“For too long they’ve been underpaid. The decision today by Fair Work Australia is an absolutely fantastic one for us,” she said.

“We got everything we asked for except they ordered a longer phase-in than what we asked for.”

Prime Minister Julia Gillard welcomed the decision, saying the case could only be brought because the Government made changes to industrial relations laws.

She says the decision will make a real difference for community sector workers and it is essential that state governments commit to funding their share of the increase

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