COMMUNITY sector workers across Orange scored an historic win on Wednesday when the workplace tribunal agreed to narrow the pay gap between men and women.
The decision by Fair Work Australia will boost the pay packets of more than 150,000 community workers across Australia, with some people set to receive an increase of up to 41 per cent over eight years.
With a predominantly female workforce, it was a significant win for people in the social, community and disability services industry in their fight for equal pay for equal work.
The decision will mean a first year level one worker will receive a pay boost of $6324, while a third year level eight worker will get an increase of $24,346.
CareWest CEO Tim Curran welcomed the decision and said it was a significant win for their workers and it will help them retain staff.
“One of the greatest challenges for our type of organisation is recruiting staff,” he said referring to current low pay levels.
Mr Curran said higher pay levels will not only help CareWest retain staff but also attract new ones to the industry.
Australian Services Union (ASU) secretary Sally McManus said the decision to increase wages was “long overdue”.
“It’s the most significant acknowledgement for equal pay for women in this generation,” she said.
With annual growth of 6 per cent, the community services sector is “one of the fastest growing sectors in Australia” according to Ms McManus.
With the pay increases set to take place over the next eight years, Ms McManus said she doesn’t believe any future government would decide against continuing the increased pay scale.
“We haven’t had any government or future government come out and oppose it,” she said.
“If they don’t come up and fund those services over the next eight years the services will be cut.”
The pay rises will be introduced in nine equal instalments from December 1, 2012 to December 1, 2020.