Community sector welcomes Equal Pay case decision

1 February 2012

ACOSS has welcomed today’s decision by Fair Work Australia in the landmark equal pay case for community sector workers.

“This is a milestone for equal pay and a crucial step towards ensuring viable, effective social services by requiring appropriate levels of pay for the staff we depend upon to deliver those services,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“This decision is the first step in addressing the historical undervaluing of community sector workers. However, we are looking at the longer implementation phase to ensure that it doesn’t undermine service effectiveness over time.

“Importantly, to truly give effect to the decision, community organisations need to be funded for higher wages. The decision is fairly moderate in the context of projected salary rises over time, particularly in the public service. This makes it all the more vital that the funding required to cover higher wages is made available as soon as possible.

“We call on all governments, as well as non-government funders to engage directly and immediately with the community sector over implementation of higher wage costs based on full funding for community services,” Dr Goldie said.

The decision on the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 found:
• FWA granted higher wage rates as agreed by the ASU and the Commonwealth Government (in November 2011 agreement) and in the order of the rates previously found by the Queensland precedent case.
• FWA ordered that the rates be implemented over a longer period of time than proposed in the application: 8 years in 9 equal instalments.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas, ACOSS – 0419 626 155