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New Aged Care Workforce Supplement guidelines provide certainty for aged care employers

1 August 2013, 6:00am

ANMF is urging private and not-for-profit aged care employers to finalise 120 replacement enterprise agreements following the release of the Federal Department of Health and Ageing's final Aged Care Workforce Supplement (formerly known as the Aged Care Compact) Guidelines. The guidelines, released on 1 July, set out how $1.2 billion in Commonwealth funding will be delivered to boost the wages of nurses, carers and other aged care employees.

Extra wage increases under the supplement
When employers agree to finalise agreements that contain the additional federal funding the supplement will deliver an extra 3.5 per cent in wages by 2016 for 10,000 private aged care nurses and carers. This will equate to an additional one per cent in each year from 2013-2015 and 0.5 per cent in 2016. Extra wages funding is only available if aged care employers apply for it and the wage increases are in the enterprise agreement.
By 2016 the supplement equates to an extra $55 per week for registered nurses, $35 for enrolled nurses and $30 per week for carers.
Under the supplement the employer must provide a minimum employer- funded increase of 2.75 per cent in each year to access the funded wage increases.

Assistance for on-costs
The supplement guidelines also now outline how an employer will be able to use the funding to meet on-costs associated with a wage increase, for example accrued leave, superannuation costs and workers compensation premiums. This overcomes the complaints many employers had expressed directly to their staff when earlier Federal Government announcements said that the employer must bear all on-costs associated with supplement increases.

To provide further certainty ANMF has also given a guarantee in a proposed wages clause that an employer will not be liable for unfunded supplement increases should a future coalition government cancel the funding.

Negotiations continue
ANMF is attempting to complete negotiations with employers that commenced in March, however we are yet to finalise those initial agreements. ANMF has also written to employers we have already held negotiations with, requesting they make a firm employer-funded wage increase offer  and that they confirm the inclusion of the supplement in their enterprise agreement.

31 December deadline
It is vital we act quickly. An enterprise agreement must be in place for an aged care facility by 31 December 2013, in order that the Government back pay the first one per cent supplement increase to an earlier date.
Should an offer not be made at forthcoming meetings ANMF has put employers on notice that we will exercise our rights under the Fair Work Act to seek a protected industrial ballot order. This is part of the enterprise bargaining process and does not prevent further discussions from occurring. Protected action means nurses and carers can take industrial action without any reprisal or disciplinary action from their employer.  
Aged care nurses and carers will have to consider the kind of protected action they wish to take - from wearing a badge to having a short stop work meeting.

ANMF will keep members updated and, if necessary, organise workplace meetings to seek members' views.  Please ask non-members in your aged care facility to join the ANMF and we urge you to attend any meetings scheduled at your workplace. For further information call your Organiser or ANMF Information Line on 9275 9333 or 1800 133 353 (regional tollfree).

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The Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) changed its name to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) on 26 July 2013

© Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch), 2006
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2013
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