Feb 2, 2012

Historic fair pay decision for low paid workers

More than 40,000 of the lowest paid workers in NSW will benefit from substantial pay rises of between 23 and 45 percent as a result of Fair Work Australia’s historic pay equity decision.

This is a very significant pay rise that will make a real difference to these workers and their families.

It is also the first ever successful pay equity claim in the national system and a significant advance for equal pay for women.

On a national scale, 120,000 of these Social and Community Sector workers are women – working in difficult jobs, including working with people with disabilities, counselling families in crisis, running homeless shelters and working with victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.

The Gillard Labor Government allowed the case to be brought to the independent umpire through our introduction of the Fair Work Act and the ability to seek gender equity in rates of pay, and supported the application.

The increases will be phased in over eight years from 1 December 2012, and the Government is committed to providing the Commonwealth’s share of funding needed to pay the higher rates of pay Fair Work Australia has awarded.

Premier O’Farrell’s noises of support are welcome, but it’s time for the NSW Government to show real support and commit to funding their fair share to ensure the continued sustainability of the sector.

Credit must go to the Australian Services Union and other unions involved on achieving this historic advancement for gender pay justice for workers in the social community services sector.

These are workers who make a difference every day for the most vulnerable in our community and deserve to be properly rewarded for their efforts.

Providing decent wages in industries dominated by women will keep our economy strong and resilient.

Importantly, the decision will also help the social and community services sector attract and keep qualified, valuable employees.