Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Historic Equal Remuneration Order for hard-working community sector workers

Joint Media Release with:

About 150,000 of some of Australia’s lowest paid workers will benefit from regular pay rises totalling between 23 and 45 per cent from 1 December this year.

The Gillard Government today welcomed the first Equal Remuneration Order handed down by Fair Work Australia (FWA). The Order details how the social and community sector workers – most of them women – will receive their significant pay rises.

The pay increases will take effect over an eight year phasing in period with workers receiving equal instalments to their pay over that time.

The order follows FWA’s historic decision on 1 February this year ordering equal pay for social and community services workers in recognition of the tireless work they do for the Australian community.

Around 120,000 of the workers covered by the ruling are women, working in difficult jobs including helping people with disability, counselling families in crisis, running homeless shelters and working with victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.

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

The Gillard Government is proud that changes it introduced to the Fair Work Act have allowed the case to be brought to the independent umpire.

The Government will continue to work with the sector to ensure the smooth implementation of the order across all states and territories.

The Gillard Government remains committed to providing additional Commonwealth funding of more than $2 billion to pay its share of the wage increase granted by FWA.

State and territory governments must also commit to funding their share.

FWA’s decision is the first successful equal remuneration claim in the national system and a significant advance for equal pay for women.

In coming years, we will need to attract and retain more workers in the services sectors of the economy and especially in ‘caring’ work which has historically been dominated by women.

Properly valuing caring work and providing decent wages in industries dominated by women is an important part of keeping our economy strong and resilient.