Historic Fair Pay Decision for Low Paid Workers

Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Federal Member for Isaacs, today announced that 150,000 of Australia's lowest paid workers will benefit from substantial pay rises of between 23 and 45 percent as a result of Fair Work Australia's historic pay equity decision.

 
Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Federal Member for Isaacs, today announced that 150,000 of Australia's lowest paid workers 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," Mr Dreyfus said.

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

Of the 150,000 Social and Community Sector workers, 120,000 are women - working in difficult jobs often described as "caring" 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 that was brought.

Noting that the increases will be phased in over eight years from 1 December 2012, the Gillard Labor Government is absolutely committed to providing the Commonwealth's share of the funding needed to pay the higher rates of pay Fair Work Australia has awarded.

"It is now essential that the Baillieu Government, as significant funders like the Commonwealth, also commit to funding their fair share to ensure the continued sustainability of the sector.

"The Baillieu Government went to the election promising to back pay equity ‘whatever the cost' but has yet to deliver on a full funding commitment in yet another backflip."

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," Mr Dreyfus said.

"Properly valuing the work of Social and Community Sector workers and providing decent wages in industries dominated by women will keep our economy strong and resilient."

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

"This decision is good for the sector, good for caring workers, good for women, good for families and good for the economy."