ANMF/QNMU applies for 25% wage increase for aged care nursing staff

Published: 18 May 2021

The QNMU's national body, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), has applied to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for a 25% increase in Award wages for RNs, ENs, AINs and Personal Care Workers (PCs/PCWs) in aged care throughout Australia.
The Union’s application seeks a 25% increase in base wages for these staff working in residential aged care and community aged care (e.g. in client’s own homes):

  • Nursing Assistants, ENs and RNs, under the Nurses Award, and
  • PCWs under the Aged Care Award.

The ANMF is running this case on the basis that the work of nursing staff delivering aged care has long been undervalued. We say that the award rates of pay do not adequately reflect the skill, responsibility and complexity of the work required to deliver safe and quality care to our elderly. This Union case is separate from enterprise bargaining – it is a different way for the Union to win wage increases for members.
This undervaluation was recognised in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The Commissioners recommended that proceedings be commenced in the FWC to rectify the problem of low wages in the aged care sector. 

AINs and PCWs - proposed wage rates

Currently, the minimum base wage for a PCW or AIN with a Certificate III qualification is $23.09/hour ($877.60/week for a full-timer) under their respective Award. The ANMF case proposes that:

  • those wages be increased to $28.86/hour ($1097/week for a full-timer), and;.
  • an entry level PCW or AIN gains experience rapidly on the job and should progress to the next pay point after six months, rather than the current 12 months. 


RNs and ENs - proposed wage rates

The hourly rate for an EN at the top of the scale would increase from $24.73 an hour to $30.93. For an RN Level 1 pay point 8 the base rate would go from $30.23 to $37.80 an hour
Your employer must pay you no less than the award rate, even if you are covered by an enterprise agreement containing wage rates that are, or end up being, less than the award rate. So this case will benefit all ANMF/QNMU members working in aged care. 
We know the work of our members is undervalued and underpaid – it’s time to change this.
The ANMF knows the work of nurses and care workers in other health settings outside of aged care is also undervalued, in large part because of gender based assumptions about caring work. We are running this case on behalf of workers in the aged care sector as the first step to improving wages for all our members.
A crucial part of this case will be evidence given to the FWC by QNMU members working in aged care about the work they do and the changes that have occurred in their work over the years.
We look forward to your support as we progress this very important case to ensure nurses and care workers in aged care receive the recognition they deserve. This is a significant case, and we do not expect a final decision from the FWC before Christmas this year. We will keep members updated as things progress, so stay tuned for more information.