More than 40,000 New South Wales workers in the social and community sector are a step closer to achieving equal pay after the Gillard Labor Government announced it will provide $2 billion to deliver an historic pay rise to workers in the sector.
These workers, many of them women, are in critical jobs caring for people with disabilities, counselling families in crisis, running homeless shelters and working with victims of domestic or sexual assault.
They make a difference every day and deserve to be properly rewarded for their efforts.
This historic commitment from the Government will help 150,000 Australians, including 120,000 women, achieve the equal pay they deserve.
The Gillard Government will submit a joint proposal with the Australian Services Union to Fair Work Australia which, if accepted, will help close the pay gap between men and women and fund the Government’s fair share of wage increases for workers in the social and community services sector.
Nearly two thirds of community sector workers have post-school qualification, compared to just over half of workers in other industries, yet the average full time wage is just over $46,000 per year, compared to the average wage of $58,000.
The Government’s announcement will help deliver an historic pay rise to workers in the community sector, including more than 40,000 people in New South Wales.
Workers in the industry have long been undervalued because their work has traditionally been seen as being associated exclusively with women.
In 2011, it is unacceptable that women in full-time work earn on average one fifth less than men. In other words, women work nearly seven weeks every year for free.
The Gillard Government is committed to achieving a fair outcome for workers in this sector whose work has long been undervalued.