Majority of Australians back calls for 25% pay rise for older workers

The majority of Australians support a pay rise for older workers – and industry leaders say it’s time.

Health Services Union Secretary Gerard HayesRecount Steve Price on Australia Today, aged care issues were important to all Australians.

“Virtually everyone in Australia will have a mum, dad, grandparent who is either in a care home or is approaching that time in their life. It’s something that has grown from a problem not politics to something that is at the forefront of people’s minds,” he said.

Currently, the sector is facing huge staff attraction and retention issues, with many employees being paid minimum wage. A poll for the Health Services Union found that 7 in 10 Australians support a 25% increase in the average pay rate for older workers.

“When we’re talking about a 25% raise, that sounds like a lot — but we’re talking about $5.20 an hour,” he explained. “Taking people off the minimum wage, for the most vulnerable (people) they care for – I think most people in Australia think that’s a reasonable thing to do.”

Yesterday the government confirmed it would send the Australian Defense Force to care homes for the elderly to help address severe staffing shortages in the sector. It comes after more elderly residents died in the first month of 2022 with COVID-19 than in all of 2021.

Meanwhile, Australia’s largest aged care facility operators are seeing huge increases in their share prices

Hayes said he described the situation as “incomprehensible”.

“How and when did older Australians become commodities? ” He asked.

“I think it’s an absolute disgrace that people can make money off older, frail vulnerable people.”

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William M. Mayer