Historic fair pay decision for low paid workers

Federal Member for Calwell Maria Vamvakinou today welcomed Fair Work Australia's historic pay equity decision. “As a result of the decision 150,000 of Australia’s lowest paid workers will benefit from substantial pay rises of between 23 and 45 percent,” Ms Vamvakinou said. 
“120,000 of these Social and Community Sector workers 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.”

Ms Vamvakinou said the Labor Government had allowed the case to be brought to the independent umpire through the introduction of the Fair Work Act. “It is also the first ever successful pay equity claim in the national system, and a significant advance for equal pay for women.”Noting that the increases will be phased in over 8 years from 1 December 2012, the Government is committed to providing the Commonwealth’s share of the funding needed to pay the higher rates of pay Fair Work Australia has awarded.

An appropriate phasing in period is unquestionably needed to allow for an orderly and structured transition so that service providers are supported and properly funded to respond to this major structural change.
It is now essential that all State and Territory governments, as significant funders like the Commonwealth, also commit to funding their share to ensure the continued sustainability of the sector. 
“We will continue to work through the impact of this historic decision in consultation with all relevant parties,” Ms Vamvakinou said.
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.
Properly valuing caring work 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.